Left and Right: The Great Dichotomy Revisited 1443851558, 9781443851558

The great dichotomy between left and right has been a feature of pluralist politics since its emergence in modern times.

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Left and Right: The Great Dichotomy Revisited
 1443851558, 9781443851558

Table of contents :
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I
LEFT AND RIGHT
II
INTRODUCTION
NORBERTO BOBBIO’S RIGHT AND LEFTBETWEEN CLASSIC CONCEPTSAND CONTEMPORARY CRISES
A MULTI-AXIAL ANALYSISOF THE LEFT-RIGHT OPPOSITIONIN SOCIETY AND POLITICS
GIVING YOU RIGHT AND LEFT WINGS
MORAL RELATIVISM
III
INTRODUCTION
THE IDEOLOGICAL ORIGINSOF NEO-LIBERALISM
WHAT’S LEFT AND WHAT’S RIGHTIN NATIONALISM?
WHICH IDEOLOGIES ARE CANONICALAND WHICH ARE BLACK AND WHITE?A MATERIALIST AND NON ESSENTIALISTAPPROACH TO IDEOLOGIES
LEFT AND RIGHT IN THE NINETEENTHCENTURY IDEOLOGICAL DEBATE
ELECTORAL REFORM AND IDEOLOGICALCONTINGENCY
IV
INTRODUCTION
THE LEFT AND THE GLOBALFINANCIAL CRISIS
THE INFLUENCE OF THE TEA PARTYON THE REPUBLICAN PARTYAND U.S. POLITICS
IS DIE LINKE COMPATIBLE WITH PLURALISTDEMOCRACY IN GERMANY?
PARTY FOR ANIMALS AND NATURE (PAN)AND UTILITARIANISM
V
INTRODUCTION
LEFT-RIGHT VS. TRADITIONALAND NEW CLEAVAGES
EXPLAINING LEFT-RIGHT PARTYCONGRUENCE ACROSS EUROPEANPOLITICAL PARTIES
LEFT AND RIGHT IN NEW DEMOCRACIES
VI
INTRODUCTION
DEBATING LEFT AND RIGHTIN CONTEMPORARY CHINA
THE SILENT LEGISLATIVE PROCESS
THE LEFT’S ATTRACTION AMIDST BOSNIAAND HERZEGOVINA’S NATIONALIST POLITICS
VII
INTRODUCTION
LEFT, RIGHT AND EQUALITY FOR ITS OWNSAKE: RAYMOND ARON AND ISAIAH BERLIN
MILTON FRIEDMAN, AMARTYA SEN,AND LEFT AND RIGHT IN AMERICAN POLITICS
VEERING LEFT AND RIGHTON THE ROAD TO SERFDOM
REASSESSING THE LEFT-RIGHT DICHOTOMY
DEMOCRACY IS AT STAKE

Citation preview

Left and Right

Left and Right: The Great Dichotomy Revisited

Edited by

João Cardoso Rosas and Ana Rita Ferreira

Left and Right: The Great Dichotomy Revisited, Edited by João Cardoso Rosas and Ana Rita Ferreira This book first published 2013 Cambridge Scholars Publishing 12 Back Chapman Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 2XX, UK British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Copyright © 2013 by João Cardoso Rosas, Ana Rita Ferreira and contributors All rights for this book reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. ISBN (10): 1-4438-5155-8, ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-5155-8



TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgements .................................................................................. viii I. Introductory Chapter Left and Right: Critical Junctures ................................................................ 2 João Cardoso Rosas and Ana Rita Ferreira II. The Great Dichotomy Theorized Introduction ............................................................................................... 22 Norberto Bobbio’s Right and Left between Classic Concepts and Contemporary Crises .......................................................................... 24 M.F.N. Giglioli A Multi-Axial Analysis of the Left/Right Opposition in Society and Politics ................................................................................................ 38 Peter Caws Giving You Right and Left Wings............................................................. 47 Cristina Montalvão Sarmento, Patrícia Oliveira and Joana Ferreira Moral Relativism: Right or Left? .............................................................. 60 Simon Skempton III. Left, Right and Ideology Introduction ............................................................................................... 78 The Ideological Origins of Neo-Liberalism: Left, Right or Centre? ......... 80 Ben Jackson What’s Left and What’s Right in Nationalism? ....................................... 111 Ángel Rivero



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Which Ideologies are Canonical and which are Black and White? A Materialist and Non Essentialist Approach to Ideologies .................... 120 António Rosas and João Relvão Caetano Left and Right in the Nineteenth Century Ideological Debate: The Case of Portugal (1820-1910) .......................................................... 140 Pedro Miguel Martins Electoral Reform and Ideological Contingency: Has Compulsory Voting Moved from Right to Left? .......................................................... 165 Anthoula Malkopoulou IV. Ideologies and Political Parties Introduction ............................................................................................. 180 The Left and the Global Financial Crisis: The Labour Party in Search of a New Economic Narrative ................................................................. 183 Eunice Goes The Influence of the Tea Party on the Republican Party and U.S. Politics ...................................................................................... 201 Donald Davison Is Die Linke Compatible with Pluralist Democracy in Germany? ........... 220 Dirk Rochtus and Gerd Strohmeier Party for Animals and Nature (PAN) and Utilitarianism: A Left Party, for Sure! ............................................................................. 238 Patrícia Fernandes V. Empirical Applications in Cross-Country Comparison Introduction ............................................................................................. 252 Left-Right vs. Traditional and New Cleavages: Testing Durability of an Old Political Category .................................................................... 255 Cal Le Gall and Raul Magni Berton Explaining Left-Right Party Congruence across European Political Parties: A Test of Przeworski-Sprague’s Party Competition Theory ...... 269 Ana Maria Belchior



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Left and Right in New Democracies ....................................................... 283 Willy Jou VI. Special Case Studies Introduction ............................................................................................. 298 Debating Left and Right in Contemporary China .................................... 301 Kalpana Misra The Silent Legislative Process: A Study on the Ideological Classification of the Brazilian Political Parties Based on Their Bills...... 318 Marcia Ribeiro Dias The Left’s Attraction amidst Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Nationalist Politics ..................................................................................................... 333 Joan Davison VII. Philosophical Considerations Revisited Introduction ............................................................................................. 350 Left, Right and Equality for its Own Sake: Raymond Aron and Isaiah Berlin ...................................................................................... 352 José Colen Milton Friedman, Amartya Sen, and Left and Right in American Politics .................................................................................................... 364 Joshua Preiss Veering Left and Right on the Road to Serfdom: Why Both Left and Right Create Illiberal Outcomes ....................................................... 377 Irena Schneider Reassessing the Left-Right Dichotomy: Chantal Mouffe and the Project of a Radical Democracy.................................................. 395 Étienne Brown Democracy is at Stake ............................................................................. 409 Hanako Koyama





ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The editors of this volume wish to acknowledge the Centre of Humanistic Studies and the Political Theory Group at the University of Minho for the support given to a conference with the same title, which occurred in March 2012.





I. INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER

LEFT AND RIGHT: CRITICAL JUNCTURES JOÃO CARDOSO ROSAS AND ANA RITA FERREIRA

Introduction: a Short History Anthropology and the Comparative Study of Religions have revealed that, before becoming “political”, the left-right divide was symbolically charged. Perhaps because of the structure of our brain and of the fact that most people are right-handed rather than left-handed, in many cultural contexts the right acquired a positive connotation and the left a negative one. Often, the right was associated with cleanliness (the right hand performs clean tasks), whereas the left was related with dirtiness (the left hand performs dirty tasks). By the same token, the right was male, whereas the left was female, the right was good and the left was evil, the right was light, whereas the left was darkness. In short: the right was superior and the left inferior. These connotations are also present in the religions that survived the modern world. Thus, for instance, in Buddhism the path to Paradise is bifurcated, but only the right-hand side leads to Nirvana. In Christianity, the Son is at the right-hand side of the Father and, in the Last Supper, the favourite of the Lord, the apostle John, is seated at His right, not at His left. Our natural languages bear testimony to the historical and symbolic depth of these meanings. In English, if right means “to be right”, what remains is “what is left”. In French, “droite” means righteousness, whereas “gauche” amounts to clumsiness. In Italian, the “destra” is capable, whereas the “sinistra” is sinister. The work of J. A. Laponce (1981) was fundamental in exploring these and other symbolic dimensions of the dichotomy, but also showed the political undertones of that duality before modern times. In the Ancien Régime, to be at the right of the king was better than to be at his left. But

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other dichotomies, such as high and low, or close and distant, remained more significant than left and right. Laponce illustrates this point with the description of the French Estates General of 1789, just before the left-right dichotomy assumed its political dominance. In the opening session of the Estates General: “The king and his family, located at centre stage, under a monumental canopy, faced the deputies. The king sat on a throne raised on the highest platform. At the foot of the throne stood the king’s family: to the king’s left, the queen and the princesses – the female side of the royal house, which could not inherit the kingdom; to his right, the princes – the group of potential successors. At the foot of the central platform, lower than the princes and princesses who were themselves lower than the king, a long bench and a table accommodated the secretaries of state. The king, his family and his ministers were thus clearly separated from the members of the three estates who stood in rows ordered from right to left. The clergy was on the right side, the nobility on the left. The Third Estate, further removed from the king’s throne than either nobles or clergy, was linked to the two privileged orders.” (Laponce, 1981: 47). Thus, until the end of the Old Regime, the up/down and the close/far dichotomies were still dominant. Verticality and distance were more significant than horizontal dispositions in the political space. Nevertheless, the left-right divide was already waiting in the wings, as it were, for the occasion to become the most relevant dichotomy in modern politics. The modern re-invention of the distinction between left and right occurred when the representatives of the Third Estate decide to transform the Estates General into a National Assembly with a view to giving a Constitution to the kingdom, and were then joined by the representatives of the clergy and of the aristocracy. Under this new dispensation, which the king ended up accepting, the seats were no longer determined by rank. In a spontaneous way, the Third Estate together with some aristocrats and the low clergy occupied the seats on the left, whereas most aristocrats and the high clergy sat on the right. It is clear that the spatial grouping in the French Assemblée Nationale had a practical purpose since the assembly was large and noisy and the deputies wanted to chat and to be close to the colleagues they identified with. But the fact that only a horizontal political space was available after the dissolution of the Estates General is very significant of this major turn in history. Moreover, while the decision about who should be seated on the left and on the right certainly reflected the deeper and historical meanings of left and right mentioned above, it also acquired more substantial content during the discussion of the rights of man and of the future of constitutional rules about the legislative veto of the king.

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According to Marcel Gauchet (1992), who offers the most probing analysis of the evolution of this great dichotomy in French politics, it is the attachment to traditional religion and the powers of the king that distinguished the left from the right in a self-conscious way, from as early as 1789 onward. Nevertheless, Gauchet – in line with Laponce – notes that there are not only a right and a left, but also several different sensibilities, both on the left and the right. These different left and right “parties” changed over time, and with the accidents of the Revolution. Laponce believes that the extremes established the dichotomy, drawing a clear distinction between those who loved the king and of the Old Regime, on the one hand, and the partisans of democratic sovereignty and the republic, on the other hand. Gauchet points out that left and right are the product of a ménage à trois, since both need a centre and it is by reference to this centre that left and right are defined. The clarification of the dichotomy and its internal distinctions occurs only later, during the first decades of the nineteenth century, and particularly within the framework of the Restoration, after 1815. Gauchet stresses the fact that, although the distinction had been established in 1789, its recurrence in popular opinion is a feature of the beginning of the 1820s. At this time, left and right represented the new and the old France, the liberals and the ultra-royalists. Many other configurations arose in the history of modern politics in France, but the memory of the Revolution and, in particular, of the Restoration, remained a strong point of reference for the distinction between left and right. It goes without saying that the dichotomy extends, after the French example, to virtually all constitutional regimes and democracies in Europe and beyond, in the 19th and 20th centuries. The distinction is everywhere in the realm of democratic politics. Its pervasiveness is, in itself, a challenge to political reflection. One can understand the background and the historical origins of the political distinction, but its universality and resilience raise more questions: Why does democratic politics require a left and a right? Does this dichotomy have a substantive meaning? What does it mean in different empirical contexts? Is the distinction between left and right a useful instrument for the analysis of political ideologies? Finally, does the divide between left and right help to understand the current crisis in Europe? These are some of the issues that the use of left and right in political language poses for philosophers, political theorists and empirically-oriented political scientists. We will now say a bit more about each one of these critical junctures.

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1. Left, Right, and Pluralism Why do constitutional and democratic politics need a left and a right? An answer to this question probably revolves around the idea of pluralism. The acceptance of a pluralism of political outlooks and groups and, furthermore, its protection with the constitutional entrenchment of basic liberties, gives rise to the idea that there are several legitimate paths in politics, not just one. The left-right (and centre) distinction is a form of describing this pluralism. If so, the political right needs the left, and the left needs the right (and both need the centre). This may be difficult to accept, since the work of politicians consists of explaining why the right is, indeed, right and that the left is wrong; or, conversely, that the left is right and the right is wrong. Understandably, politicians and doctrinaires attempt to occupy all the available political space and to expel their opponents from the playing field. However, without the right there would be no left; and in the absence of the left the right would make no sense. We suppose this is what Steven Lukes (2003) refers to when he talks about “the principle of parity”. Lukes points out that the political vocabulary of right and left signifies a rejection of “pre-eminence or dominance” (Lukes, 2003: 608), and therefore an overcoming the symbolic and traditional superiority of the right over the left. In the modern “collective representations” of left and right “each has equal standing” (Lukes, 2003: 608). This is why many of those who reject the dichotomy are enemies of parity and, concomitantly, of democratic pluralism. They try to dis-identify with right or left and prefer to say “neither right, nor left” because they abhor competitive politics. It is for this reason that authoritarian or totalitarian politicians tend to present themselves as “beyond left and right”. This makes sense because they want to deny the relevance of pluralism, or perhaps to suppress it by force. Nevertheless, not everyone who uses the language of “neither left nor right” want to deny the principle of parity. Some are defending a centrist view, or some form of middle ground (a third-way, for instance). In this case, they may still endorse the principle of parity. Others may want to unidentify with the left-right dichotomy because their own political camp is in a defensive position. Thus, for instance, in the southern-European states that made a transition from a right-wing authoritarian regime to democracy, when people say they are “neither left nor right”, this means they are “in the right”. By contrast, after the transition to democracy in the former communist countries of Eastern Europe, when someone said they were “neither right nor left”, this was because they were on the left. Again,

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in these cases people may be perfectly happy to accept the principle of parity, but they want to disguise the fact that they belong to one of two main political camps. Although the connection between the great dichotomy and pluralist politics is unavoidable, it is also clear that left and right oversimplify “really existing” pluralism. It is often remarked – and rightly so – that there is not just one right but several; not just one left but many; not to mention a number of centres (centre-left, centre-right…). The literature on the subject agrees that this simplification plays an important role in pluralist politics. The pulverization of groups and outlooks makes it difficult for ordinary citizens to follow the stream of politics. The simplification provided by the left / right dichotomy therefore has a cognitive usefulness in that it reduces a plurality to a simple and more manageable alternative. In some cases at least, cognitive usefulness may come together with democratic usefulness. When the left is in power democratic citizens know they may turn to the right, and vice-versa. In this way, the dichotomy points to the existence of an alternative and helps to energize the political game. In other circumstances, however, the simplification may trivialize democratic politics, as when citizens end up believing that the alternation in power between left and right makes no significant difference.

2. The Problem of the Substantive Meaning Thus far, we have highlighted the formal role of the dichotomy in pluralist politics, but have said nothing about the content of the distinction. Is “left and right” just an example of useful or convenient terminology? Has its meaning changed over time and space to the point of becoming meaningless? Or has it retained a core meaning that still applies universally and sheds light on the differences between those on the right and those on the left? Norberto Bobbio is probably the main contributor to this debate (1999). His writings on the subject appeared in the context of an Italian debate that included scholars such as like Cofrancesco and Galeotti, among many others. However, unlike the work of his opponents and critics, Bobbio’s contribution has become influential beyond the Italian context. Bobbio’s endeavour is analytic, not normative. He proposes to find a universally accepted criterion to distinguish between right and left. His argument is that the two sides of the dichotomy can be distinguished because of their different attitudes towards the value of “equality”. In a

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nutshell, the left tends to be more egalitarian than the right, on all occasions and in all contexts. This does not mean that the left is radically egalitarian, or that the right is never egalitarian. For instance, the liberal right may defend equality before the law, which is a form of equality. The left may oppose strict economic egalitarianism – indeed, this is usually the case in most versions of democratic socialism or social democracy – while remaining, by and large, egalitarian. The analytic criterion of “equality” suggests that, in every possible case and context, the left tends to be more egalitarian, and the right less so, but the distinction is a matter of degree rather than absolute or essentialist. For Bobbio, the left is more egalitarian about the aspects to consider in the substantiation of equality. Take the example of access to healthcare. The right is more restrictive about equal access to healthcare, whereas the left stresses equality of access. This is why the those on the right readily admit that access to healthcare may depend on payments by the users of health services, whereas those on the left are more likely to believe that payment for such services introduces an unacceptable level of inequality. The left also tends to be more egalitarian about the number of individuals to include in any given “equalizing” policy. For instance, when broadening the franchise is at stake – to, say, women in the past, or immigrants in the present – the left is likely to favour a wider set of criteria for who gets to vote, and the right will have a more restricted view. The left wants to include more people in the sphere of equality (in this case, in reference to political rights), whereas the right is more cautious about the inclusion of those who are outside the existing sphere of equality. Finally, the left is still more egalitarian in the criteria it uses to defend equality. For example, the idea that “each should receive according to their need” is more egalitarian than the idea that “each should receive according to their merit”. Again, this does not mean that the right can never defend the former idea, or that the left will never uphold the latter. But it does mean that, when confronted with specific instantiations of these principles – for instance, the re-distribution of wealth – the left tends to follow the more and the right the less egalitarian view. Steven Lukes, whose interest in the subject pre-dates the Italian debate about the substantive content of the distinction between left and right, says that the left is distinguishable from the right because it defends what he calls “the principle of rectification” (Lukes, 2003: 612). This idea is in line with Bobbio’s approach, but adds the point that the left is more, as it were, constructivist than the right. The right accepts the facts of inequality more easily, whereas the left points to them in order to rectify them. The left has

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developed social theories that unveil different aspects of inequality (in terms of wealth, opportunities, sex and gender, culture, age, etc.) and that focus on policy instruments to rectify them. By contrast, the right tends to criticize the excesses of the left in its project of rectification, often suggesting that they never produce the desired effects, and that they are utopian in the negative sense of the word. The dissatisfaction of the right with the rectification project of the left was captured by Albert Hirschman (1991) in his analysis of the “rhetoric of reaction”. For the right – and using Hirschman’s terminology – the rectification defended by the left is often “futile”, since it fails to produce the aims it wants to achieve. Moreover, the will to rectify the existing social order tends to generate what he calls “perverse effects” and “jeopardizes”. Instead of rectifying inequalities, the left very often ends up producing new inequalities, or, what is more, the demise of liberty. The Bobbio/Lukes criterion – let us call it this – is not the only candidate for the distinction between left and right. Laponce (1981) favours a distinction based on the difference between atheism and religiosity, for instance. But while this distinction holds in many contexts, it will not in many others since the right may be atheist and the left profoundly religious. Another suggested distinction is between progressivism and conservatism. It is often assumed that the left is always progressive and the right always conservative. But this is certainly not the case. The left in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall was conservative; and the liberal right that defended privatization and deregulation in the eighties and nineties was progressive when compared with the status quo established by the post-war social-democratic consensus. Another candidate for the distinction between left and right is the individualism/holism dichotomy. This point emerges in the Italian debate, but it was perhaps better articulated by Louis Dumont (v. Lukes, 2003), in the context of a debate about French national ideology. However, it is not the case that the left is invariably more individualistic and the right more holistic. Although that was the case in some contexts in France, the exact opposite may also happen. The left may be libertarian, but it quite often emphasizes the role of society, social class or social movement over the individual. The right is sometimes holistic, as in some forms of organic conservatism, but it may also be individualistic, to the point of declaring that “there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families” (Margaret Thatcher). Still another candidate to account for the distinction between left and right is the liberty/authority dichotomy. However, as Bobbio remarks,

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liberty and authority are good criteria to distinguish between different lefts and different rights, but not between left and right. Accordingly, there are liberal and authoritarian lefts, but also liberal and authoritarian rights. This point is actually represented by the so-called bi-dimensional diagram, which is familiar to us because of the Political Compass test – an issue explored in greater detail below. To sum up: the Bobbio/Lukes criterion seems quite operative and it is widely used by political theorists, in explicit or implicit forms. This is why many of the authors in this volume use it extensively. However, others may argue that it is too speculative and that it can be accused of essentialism.

3. Empirical Studies Beyond the realm of Political Theory, empirical studies show that individuals tend to place themselves, parties and politics along a left-right spectrum according to the “equality criterion”. In fact, all around the world there seems to be a recurrent association between the left, egalitarianism and state intervention in society. By contrast, the right is invariably identified with market liberalization and lesser state intervention. This suggests that the empirical distinction between left and right is not far from the Bobbio/Lukes criterion. First of all, it should be noted that when people are asked about their ideological positioning, they appear to be quite familiar with the lanaguge of left and right. The dichotomy clearly simplifies the complex world of politics (Fuchs and Klingemann, 1990), and an overwhelming majority of individuals has no difficulty defining their position on a spectrum that goes from extreme-left to extreme-right, passing through centre-left and centre-right. Indeed, empirical studies show that citizens employ the leftright dichotomy as the most important tool when they are thinking about politics, taking political positions and deciding about their vote (Knutsen, 1998). This means that “left” and “right” are not overlapped political resources. On the contrary, they still make sense for today’s citizens and, what is more, they structure the political competition – namely the party competition in European countries (Huber and Inglehart, 1995). The leftright dichotomy is still highly relevant in the empirical political world (Mair, 2007). One could say that the mere fact that people regard these antithetical words as extremely relevant when making political decisions does not mean that they really understand the dichotomy’s substantial content. The left-right self-placement can be an elusive idea. However, empirical

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studies prove that citizens match their positions on the left-right spectrum with their level of egalitarianism and, concomitantly, their level of support for egalitarian policies. Individuals place themselves on some point along the spectrum in light of so-called socio-economic values. That is to say that those values play one of the most important roles in the identification of individuals as being either left or right – they are more relevant than moral values and post-materialist values in the ideological identification of each individual (Freire, 2006). These socio-economic values are truly connected with the idea of “equality”, since they call for different levels of social and economic equality and different ways to achieve them. So, it is largely one’s concept of equality that underlies one’s ideological selfplacements. Lipset and Rokkan (1970) undertook a historical analysis of modern political conflicts and presented four dichotomies that they claimed structured politics up until the 1970s: centre-periphery, church-state, ruralurban and owners-workers. The latter pairing, they held, was the most important one to understand politics, since social class was the most relevant factor in individuals’ ideological positioning and consequently in their party affiliation and vote. The owners-workers divide counterposed employees (those who work to earn a salary) against employers (those who own the means of production), an opposition that was reflected in the conflict between communist and socialist parties, on the one hand, and liberal and conservative parties, on the other. The former parties constituted the “left”, since they defended social and workers’ rights and state intervention to guarantee wealth redistribution, public social services, better living conditions and a reduction of inequalities. The latter parties made up the “right”, because they focused on the defence of free markets, with as little state intervention as possible, and were reluctant to accept any kind of measures of social or economic equalization (Freire, 2006: 101-102). This theory of historical cleavages – and particularly the social class cleavage – was the main approach to understanding ideological divisions, party systems and political competition in Western democracies until the end of 20th century, since citizens’ voting decisions were highly determined by their position in the social class structure. Empirical data showed that parties largely represented different social classes, such that workers were mainly leftwing and owners were mainly rightwing (Lipset and Rokkan, 1970). However, in the 1970s, some other authors, notably Ronald Inglehart (1977), began to argue that new cleavages were emerging, which had the potential to challenge and even replace traditional social cleavages. Inglehart’s main idea was that societies living in peace, with strong social

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security networks and high levels of material well-being, would turn their attention from economic growth, safety and material security (materialist values) to other kinds of concerns, such as environmental protection and citizens’ participation in political decision-making processes (postmaterialist values). He argued that while the former cleavages had structured political life in the past, the latter set of concerns would become highly relevant in individuals’ ideological positioning in conditions of security, prosperity and stability (Inglehart, 1977; Inglehart, 1990). Other authors agreed the idea of a “new politics”, but preferred to talk about an authoritarian-libertarian cleavage rather than a materialist-postmaterialist one (Kitschelt, 1994). This categorization suggested that libertarian principles – such as democratic participation, individual autonomy and social diversity – would shape the “new left”; and that authoritarian values – such as hierarchy reinforcement, limitations on individual autonomy and restrictions on social and cultural diversity – would shape the “new right”. Minorities’ rights and gender equality are good examples of the issues that characterize so-called “libertarian politics”. In fact, there is a close connection between libertarian and postmaterialist values. Both expressions hint at problems that are only powerful political issues in materially secure societies that can spare the energy to pay attention to other social questions. However, if it is true that traditional cleavages no longer determine individuals’ ideological positioning (Dalton, 1996), it is also the case that the new cleavages do not play a central role either (Gunther and Montero, 2001). Contrary to what Inglehart initially predicted, post-materialism (or Kitschelt’s libertarianism) did not win over social-economic topics in ideological selfplacement. Social and economic questions have remained the major factor of political competition in old and new democracies alike (Huber and Inglehart, 1995). The redistribution of wealth, the economic role of the state, and measures that aim to equalize opportunities and outcomes (Freire, 2006: 65) are examples of social-economic topics that keep dividing left and right and have a clear impact on equality, even if they are not connected with strict social classes anymore. It is true that in some European countries such as the Netherlands, France, Germany or Denmark, post-materialist issues are relevant for individuals’ ideological self-placement but they never explains more than 10 per cent of self-positioning. At the same time, in some of these countries, social-economic values remain the most relevant in explaining ideological self-placement: they explain more than 10 per cent of

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individuals’ positioning and, in Nordic countries like Sweden or Norway, almost 30 per cent (Freire, 2006, quoting European Social Survey 1999). Post-materialism and libertarianism “have entered in the political agenda and created new bases of partisan conflict” (Dalton, 1996: 320). However, these new issues not only did not take social-economic priority, as they have also been absorbed by the left-right dichotomy (Freire, 2006: 119), since citizens on the left simultaneously show concern with social and economic topics as well as post-materialist-libertarian values (and the opposite happens on the right). In fact, questions raised by postmaterialism and libertarianism can be easily set out in terms of more (or less) equality – even if they do not refer to traditional economic equality, but to new spheres of equality. For that reason, it is understandable that the (egalitarian) left has become sympathetic to those values and adopted some of them – while the (inegalitarian) right has maintained materialist and authoritarian positions. Empirical studies prove that individuals who place themselves on the left are more likely to adhere to new rights for all citizens in order to ensure that all participate in political decision-making (rather than having political life overwhelmingly in the hands of a small elite), to extend rights to minority groups, reinforce women’s as well as environmental and quality of life rights, all of which means more equality among individuals. On the other end of the political spectrum, individuals tend to oppose “new politics’ demands” and focus on more materialist and authoritarian concerns – thus preventing a broadening of equality (Freire, 2006: 119121). There is a match between the old dichotomy and (what has been thought of as being) the new one. However, social-economic values have a stronger explanatory role than moral and post-materialist values in determining ideology. And, as expected, individuals who place themselves on the right defend a minimal role for the state in economic and social life and are less supportive of equalization through the Welfare State and redistribution. Individuals that consider themselves leftwing have the opposite attitude, defending state intervention in the economy, redistribution and the Welfare State as important means to combat inequality (Freire, 2006: 112-114). Although social class has ceased to be the major explanatory factor for ideological self-positioning, the old political topics are still relevant and still divide left from right. Grosso modo, there are more “right-wing workers” and “left-wing owners” today (an idea that would have seeemd rather absurd in the 1960s), but what determines the choice is still people’s attitude to equality among individuals.

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It should be noted, however, that while social class is declining as a factor of ideological placement, “social identity” is becoming more relevant – and the latter depends on several aspects of social identification, associated with specific life styles, which may not be linked to people’s social origins. However, even this social identity (which includes trusting big companies or trade unions, or the frequency of religious practice) remains weak when it comes to explaining individuals’ positioning on a left-right spectrum (Freire, 2006), having yet to attain the explanatory power of social class. Aside from values, there are other factors that contribute to the alignment of citizens on the left or the right. In most countries, party identification matters more than values. In fact, party dimension usually explains more than 25 per cent of ideological self-placement – and sometimes even more than 50 per cent (Freire, 2006). Nevertheless, since most political parties tend to identify with a specific chart of values and a particular ideology, this again suggests the relevance of the substantive content – and not just the form – of the dichotomy. In short: empirical studies prove that the left-right dichotomy is still operative and makes sense in today’s politics. Further, they show that the dichotomy has retained its essential meaning, regardless of historical variables, and that no other pair of antithetical terms has replaced it, since none of the potential competitors sum up or clarify political life as comprehensively.

4. Left, Right, and Ideologies Two aspects we have not dealt with directly thus far is the connection between left and right, on the one hand, and the language of political ideologies, on the other. The dichotomy “left and right” is part of ordinary usage in political language, but so is the vocabulary of ideology: socialist, liberal and conservative, among others. Is the left-right divide a useful instrument for the analysis of these and other ideologies? The simplest way of answering this question consists in placing ideological outlooks along a line representing the spectrum from left to right: left _______________________ right However, there are several ways to organize this kind of representation, because the place occupied by ideologies has changed over time since the transition from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century (and

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Left and Right: Critical Junctures

as a result of changing societal contexts as well, of course). Very roughly, one may distinguish four different “ideological moments” in the history of Europe: 1) The first corresponds to the first decades the nineteenth century. In this context, liberals occupied the left end of the spectrum. They favoured reform, democracy, republicanism, anti-clericalism, the free market and a weaker state. Why should they be placed on the left? Because they were egalitarian given their opposition to the hierarchies inherited from the Old Regime that were based on blood and status (although they were not egalitarian as far as as private property was concerned). Conservaties took the right position. They were the party of order, tradition, monarchy, established religion, and favoured a stronger state. They occupied the right-wing end of the political spectrum because they were strongly antiegalitarian, favouring inherited social hierarchies, even if they may have admitted the principle of “noblesse oblige”. Accordingly, the graphic representation for this period is as follows: left _________________________________________ right liberalism conservatism 2) The second moment corresponds to a later period in the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, when socialist ideas and movements became increasingly important across Europe. In this context, socialists occupied the left end of the spectrum because they were more egalitarian than the liberals. Not only did they oppose inherited hierarchies, but they also favoured economic equality and opposed private property. By occupying the left-hand end of the spectrum, they pushed the liberals to the centre: left _________________________________________ right socialism liberalism conservatism Interestingly, this re-composition never occurred in the United States, because socialist ideas and movements failed to gain popular support there. According to Seymour Martin Lipset and Gary Marks (2000), among others, socialism failed in the US because of deeply embedded historical and cultural factors (such as individualism). Whatever the reasons, the fact is that in the US liberals remained on the left and the conservatives on the right as in Europe at the beginning of the nineteenth century. This is not to say that U.S. liberals today think like European

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liberals did in the nineteenth century. The breaking point for American Liberalism was the New Deal. Since then, American liberals began to support a bigger state, whereas American conservatives, who first favoured a strong state, shifted to support a small state and laissez-faire economics. U.S. liberals should not be confused with European social democrats, although this is what U.S. conservatives think of them (hence their accusation that President Obama is a “socialist”). 3) The third moment in Europe waas the era of extremisms in the twentieth century. This period was particularly challenging for the leftright dichotomy as an instrument for the analysis of ideologies. Thus far, we have suggested that democratic ideologies may be placed along a leftright continuum. Another question is whether or not non-democratic or extra-constitutional ideologies can also be classified according to the leftright dichotomy. In Political Man (1960) and after, Lipset argued that the same yardstick should be used to analyse extremist parties and ideologies and their democratic counterparts, defining them as left, right or centre parties or ideologies. On the face of it, this would lead to the graphic representation below: left _________________________________________ right Communism fascism However, this is not the representation that Lipset’s observations suggest. He defends the counterintuitive thesis that classic fascism, or Nazi fascism, was not extremism of the right but rather of the centre. In purely ideological terms, fascism was similar to the democratic centre (or liberalism) in its opposition to big business, trade unions and the socialist state, as well as in its distaste for religion and traditionalism (although unlike liberalism, it also favoured a strong state). Moreover, the social bases of fascism are identical to those of liberalism: the middle-classes, small businessmen, white-collar workers and anticlerical professionals. Lipset argued that the rightwing extreme was occupied by authoritarian conservatives such as Salazar in Portugal and Franco in Spain; and that the extreme left was occupied not only by Communists but also by other egalitarian populisms such as Peronism in Argentina and other comparable movements in underdeveloped countries. Thus, a representation following Lipset would be as follows: left ________________________________________________ right Communism, Peronism, etc. / Nazi-fascism / Salazarism, Franquism, etc.

Left and Right: Critical Junctures

16

Another way of representing the extremes departs from the traditional scheme and introduces a vertical axis, cutting across the left-right horizontal axis. This is the above-mentioned bi-dimensional representation that was popularized through the Political Compass tests. The second axis was first introduced by Hans Eysenk (1954), a political psychologist, to distinguish between democratic or liberty-inclined views, and authoritarian or authority inclined views. On this basis, one can place both democratic and non-democratic ideological outlooks in the same diagram, as follows: authority communism

(fascism?)

authoritarian conservatism

left ________________________________________________ right democratic socialism

liberalism

non-authoritarian conservatism

liberty There are reasons to be sceptical about the application of the left-right divide to extremist ideologies as suggested by Lipset and others. As shown in section 1 above, the dichotomy makes sense in a pluralist regime and it emerged with modern constitutionalism. A political continuum of extremisms is a counterfactual exercise of the imagination. In fact, there is no parliament of extremisms, no feasible coexistence between different extremist ideologies in the same political order. So the representation of extremisms as being on the left, right or centre is an attempt to find family resemblances between these ideologies and their democratic counterparts, but it does not tell us about the role of extremisms in politics. Nonetheless, extremist ideologies arose in the framework of constitutional democracies and political pluralism and so they can be classified in accordance to their origins, even if they ended up denying the pluralist context from which they originated. 4) The fourth moment in the history of Europe covers the last two or three decades, in which both socialism and conservatism seem to have learned some lessons from liberalism. Although they maintain their respective positions on the spectrum, both conservatism and socialism seem to have incorporated liberal views. For instance traditional conservatism used to be suspicious of the radical forms of market liberalism, but this has not been the case at least since the 1980s and 1990s and the liberal-conservative synthesis initiated in the United Kingdom.

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Socialism used to be equally distant from economic liberalism, but this ceased to be the case after the emergence of the Third Way, or Die Neue Mitte, or similar shifts. If one excludes both the far-left and the far-right, in their democratic avatars, the representation of mainstream ideologies in the last decades of the twentieth century and of the beginning of the twenty-first might look like this: left _________________________________________ right liberal-socialism liberal-conservatism Finally, does the analysis of ideologies from the point of view of left and right really help us to understand at least democratic ideologies? If one is to judge by the recurrent use of this frame of analysis in the literature, the answer must be yes. But there are sceptics too, particularly among those who study ideologies according to the framework developed by Michael Freeden, so-called “morphologic analysis” (Freeden, 1996). According to Freeden and others, it makes little sense to represent ideologies along the left-right spectrum. The macro-ideologies – socialism, liberalism and conservatism – are deep and complex structures that interweave a number of concepts that have remained relatively stable over time despite contextual variations and interconnections. Macro and micro ideologies are not mutually exclusive and they do not always establish clear-cut alternatives for political action. Thus, the argument goes, ideologies do not exist in a continuum, as suggested by the application of the left-right dichotomy. There is no gradual ordering of ideologies, from left to right, or from more to less egalitarian. Indeed, as Freeden argues, the classification of ideologies along the leftright continuum is in itself an ideological enterprise. It conveys the false idea that there is a fixed marketplace of political ideas, a set number of centrist, radical and extremist views that can be perceived easily and consciously by all. However, this is a simplification of what ideologies are about. Moreover, this simplification is induced by a behaviourist approach to politics, which focuses on concrete and well-defined forms of human conduct. It should be noted that some of those who deny the relevance of the great dichotomy also deny the relevance of ideologies (although Freeden is not one of them). Typically, this happens when one of the sides of the ideological and political struggle is seen to have prevailed over the other. The idea of the “end of ideologies” was defended by Eduard Shills (1955) and Daniel Bell (1962) among others in the 1950s and 1960s, supposedly resulting from the defeat of fascism and the demise of Stalinism, and the future convergence of both sides of the Cold War in societies oriented to

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Left and Right: Critical Junctures

the satisfaction of consumers. At the end of the 1980s, Francis Fukuyama (1992) argued the even bolder case for “the end of history”, after the fall of the communist world in Eastern Europe, based on the belief that a single model of market liberalism and liberal democracy had definitively won the political battle. The interesting point about theses that defend the end of ideology or history and deny the relevance of the left-right divide or of other political cleavages is that they have invariably been followed by powerful divisions and political struggles in the 1960s and in the first decade of the twenty first century, arguably pitting a left against a right and different ideological outlooks: the new social movements versus traditional society in the 1960s; and the opposition to financial globalization and deregulation versus the defence of free and open markets today. So, it seems idle to deny the ongoing relevance of the left-right dichotomy even in the analysis of ideologies, although one should acknowledge that it does not always shed light on the diversity and complexity of the ideological world we inhabit (or that inhabits our minds). The left-right dichotomy, as stressed from the outset, is a simplification – perhaps even the greatest possible simplification – of the political alternatives available over time. It does say something about politics, but not everything that can be said about politics.

Final Remarks: Revisiting the Dichotomy in a Time of Crisis This brings us to the critical juncture we face today regarding the theoretical and empirical relevance of the great dichotomy in the context of the crisis that began in 2007 or 2008 and is still unfolding, with particularly harsh consequences in Europe and in its periphery. There are two competing narratives about what is happening, one clearly emanating from the left, another from the right. The first says that the crisis originated in the triumph of neo-liberalism in the 1980s and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, with the politics of privatization and deregulation. The competing narrative sees the causes of the crisis in the intervention of the state in the United States housing market and thereafter with overspending by many states to avoid a deeper crisis. There are also left and right solutions to the crisis, of course. The right believes that the solution lies in austerity for countries that face a debt crisis, whereas the left criticizes excessive austerity as counterproductive and advocates a more gradual adjustment. The left wants the state and the central banks – and the EU – to act in order to promote growth. The right

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emphasizes that growth can only come from sound public finances and market creativity. Finally, there are expectations on the left and right regarding the aftermath of the crisis. The left believes that this historical moment is forcing us to re-clarify the divide along traditional lines. The issues at stake are social and economic, not cultural or symbolic as they were a few years ago. Thus, Europe and other parts of the world should return to the core values of equality and solidarity and defend the welfare state. For its part, the right believes that the left’s belief in a better future for the working classes is condemned to fail because of the limitations of economic growth and demographic change. Societies must become more efficient and sustainable, which is incompatible with the kind of welfare state and generous redistribution policies defended by the left. Whether one thinks about the causes of the crisis, the solutions to the problems it has caused or about the expectations of its aftermath, one is unavoidably confronted with the great political dichotomy that has accompanied pluralist political regimes since they were institutionalized in the transition from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century. Must we think, once again, with and within that dichotomy, or can we think better outside it? The contributions to this volume provide answers to these and other questions in ways that are both theoretically sound and empirically informed.

References Bell, Daniel (1962), The End of Ideology: On the Exhaustion of Political Ideas in the Fifties, New York: Collier. Bobbio, Norberto (1999), Destra e Sinistra: Ragioni e significati di una distinzione politica, Roma: Donzelli. Dalton, R. J. (1996), “Political Cleavages, Issues, and Electoral Change”, in Le Duc, L., Niemi, R. G. and Norris, P., (eds.), Comparing Democracies: Elections and Voting in Global Perspective, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Eysenk, Hans (1954), The Psychology of Politics, London: Routledge. Freeden, Michael (1996), Ideologies and Political Theory: A Conceptual Approach, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Freire, André (2006), Esquerda e Direita na Política Europeia: Portugal, Espanha e Grécia em Perspectiva Comparada, Lisboa: ICS. Fuchs, D. and Klingemann, H.-D. (1990), “The Left-Right Schema”, in Jennings, M. K. and Van Deth, J. (eds), Continuities in political action: A longitudinal study of political orientations in three Western democracies, Berlim/New York: de Gruyter.

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Fukuyama, Francis (1992), The End of History and the Last Man, New York: Free Press. Gauchet, Marcel (1992), “La Droite et la Gauche”, in Nora, Pierre (dir.), Les Lieux de Mémoire III, Les France: 1. Conflits et Partages, Paris: Gallimard, 395-467. Gunther, Richard and Montero, José M. (2001), “The anchors of partisanship: a comparative analysis of voting behaviour in four Southern European countries”, in Diamandouros, Nikiforos and Gunther, Richard, (orgs.) (2001), Parties, Politics and Democracy in New Southern Europe, Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press. Hirschman, Albert (1991), The Rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy, Cambridge, Mas.: Harvard University Press. Huber. J. and Inglehart, Ronald (1995), “Expert Interpretations of Party Space and Party Location in 42 Societies”, Party Politics, 1(1), 73-111. Inglehart, Ronald (1977), The Silent Revolution: Changing Values and Political Styles among Western Publics, Princeton: Princeton University Press. —. (1990), Cultural shift in advanced industrial society, Princeton: Princeton University Press. Kitschelt, Herbert (1994), The Transformation of European Social Democracy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Knutsen, O. (1998), “Expert Judgements of the Left-Right Location of Political Parties: A Comparative Longitudinal Study”, West European Politics, 21 (2), 63-94. Laponce, J. A. (1981), Left and Right: The Topography of Political Perceptions, Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Lipset, Seymour Martin (1960), Political Man: The Social Basis of Politics, London: Heinemann. Lipset, Seymour Martin and Rokkan, Stein (1970), Party Systems and Voter Alignments. Cross-National Perspectives, New York: The Free Press. Lipset, Seymour Martin and Marks, Gary (2000), It Didn’t Happen Here: Why Socialism Failed in the United States, New York: Norton. Lukes, Steven (2003), “Epilogue: The grand dichotomy of the twentieth century”, in Ball, Terence and Bellamy, Richard (eds.), The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 602-626. Mair, Peter (2007), “Political Opposition and the European Union”, Government and Opposition, 42, 1-17. Shills, Eduard (1955), “The End of Ideology?”, Encounter, vol.5, 52-8.

II. THE GREAT DICHOTOMY THEORIZED

INTRODUCTION

In this section of this volume, several authors address the issue of the usefulness of the great dichotomy, and discuss its content. All of them tend to stress that the left-right distinction is, in practical terms, still useful. Moreover, they start from the classical definition proposed by Noberto Bobbio, who sees the content of the distinction in the different attitudes of left and right towards “equality” (the left being more egalitarian, the right less so). Nevertheless, they also disagree with Bobbio insofar as they propose revisions and/or amendments to his way of distinguishing the left from the right. In his discussion of Bobbio’s work, Giglioli confronts the disjunction between the persistent practical valence of the dichotomy and the perception by the citizenry of the erosion of its content centred around the idea of “equality”. Giglioli tends to see this problem as a result of the crisis of democracy. Globalization explains why the dichotomy has become an empty alternative for the demos at the national level. Democratic life takes place at the national level but most relevant decisions have been displaced to the global or European (in the case of the EU) levels. This transformation of politics need not lead to the demise of the left-right dichotomy, Giglioli contends, but it shows that it can only be recovered beyond the level of the nation-state. Peter Caws also believes that some political issues today should not be aligned along the left-right continuum (the tension between Islam and the West is a case in point). Nevertheless, he suggests that some of the dimensions of the dichotomy, and not just the political ones, remain pervasive in society. Thus, aside from the “political axis” dealing with equality that is connected with ideas of liberty and community, several other axes are still relevant: philosophical, moral, religious and economic, among others. As Caws argues, these axes generate specific polarities, which may be represented by the left-right dichotomy. Cristina Montalvão Sarmento, Patrícia Oliveira and Joana Ferreira use a metaphorical and allusive style in their personal reflections on the great dichotomy. Starting with the idea that being leftwing or rightwing is a fundamental matter for “political man”, they point to the difficulties of defining the specific values of the two sides of the political divide, and

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suggest that left and right should give us “wings” to think beyond this simple dichotomy. Simon Skempton provides an insightful discussion of left and right from the viewpoint of metaethics. According to much of the right, the left today is characterised by moral relativism, whereas the right sticks to the idea of strong and universal values. Against this common belief, Skempton shows that the position of the left is more consistent with moral universalism, whereas the right is consistently characterized by moral relativism. Thus, left and right remain useful in the political discussion of “moral issues”, albeit not in the way usually represented by the right. João Cardoso Rosas

NORBERTO BOBBIO’S RIGHT AND LEFT BETWEEN CLASSIC CONCEPTS AND CONTEMPORARY CRISES M. F. N. GIGLIOLI*

“Doktor König, der linksgerichtet war, mit Rußland sympathisierte und sich für einen Revolutionär hielt, dem nur eine Revolution fehlt, hörte mit der Andacht zu, die Gegner der bürgerlichen Gesellschaftsordnung für deren Stützen immer bereithalten. Bernheim hielt ihn für einen mächtigen Führer des Proletariats, und er sah in Bernheim einen geheimen Vertrauten der Schwerindustrie. So saßen sie einander gegenüber, die Repräsentanten zweier feindlicher Mächte, persönlich objektiv bis zur Freundschaft und jeder erfüllt von dem Gedanken an die Wirkung, die er auf den andern ausübte.” —Joseph Roth, Rechts und Links

Eighteen years after the publication of Norberto Bobbio’s classic statement on the concepts of Right and Left (Bobbio, 1994), the dichotomy is as central as ever to the functioning of democratic institutions and to the self-perception of ordinary people. At the same time, its political content appears eroded, to the point where many have claimed it lingers merely as an empty signifier. In order to account for this discrepancy, I will sketch an argument drawing on the pragmatic valence and on the historical development of the Left-Right cleavage. Tracing the paradigm of the dichotomy, underlying Bobbio’s argument, to 19th century debates regarding the speed of progress understood as a linear process ultimately productive of social leveling, I interpret the contemporary predicament not as a transcendence of the antagonism of Right and Left, but as a displacement of the locus of political decision that renders national politics irrelevant for the issues that characterize the dichotomy. Such a state of affairs is not understood as a decisive victory of the freemarket, globalizing Right, but rather as a general failure of democracy, an

 *

Visiting Scholar at the Centre for European and Mediterranean Studies of New York University.

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abrogation of collective subjectivity. On this basis, the revitalization of the dichotomy is seen to depend on the development of a theory and practice of the politics of Left and Right at the international level, which the 20th century signally failed to bring about.

I. The figure of Norberto Bobbio is difficult to elude for anyone who began to reflect on the concepts of Left and Right, and perhaps on politics tout court, by considering the case of modern Italy. Bobbio’s central position within Italian social-scientific discourse in the second half of the 20th century (the period that has come to be associated with the country’s Prima Repubblica) is in no small part related to his own personal trajectory, which in turn was deeply attuned to the political history of the country. From the anti-fascist resistance to the constitutional convention, from postwar reconstruction to industrial take-off, from the challenge of student activism to the defense of the republican institutions against terrorism in the 1970s, all the main phases of public life found an echo in Bobbio’s biography, and bibliography. So pronounced was this role, as the “critical conscience” of the republican regime, that today, nearly a decade after his passing (and in a wholly different cultural and political climate), the reader of Bobbio is faced with – if I may be permitted the expression – a type of classicism. Perhaps ironically, for a man who thoroughly shared the anti-rhetorical mores of the generation of Montale, Pavese, and Fenoglio, his works today appear more as a corpus to interpret than as a series of arguments with which to debate. In particular, Destra e sinistra (Right and Left) can most meaningfully be read today, I believe, as a symptom of a specific historical context. 1994, the year in which it was published, saw a key shift in Italian politics, with Silvio Berlusconi’s first electoral victory at the close of the Tangentopoli crisis that had liquidated the ruling class of the First Republic. Beyond the personalistic element of the new political system, a deep change in the political culture of the country was set in movement, whose origins can be traced to the end of the Cold War (Ginsborg, 1996): despite the reactivation (and discursive spectacularization) of the communist/anti-communist cleavage, the 1994 election marked the beginning of a shift away from the traditional political configuration of modern Italy, the “material constitution” that had endured since the late 40s.

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Norberto Bobbio’s Right and Left

Like many classics written at a crucial historical juncture1, Destra e sinistra records, but also circumscribes, a crisis in the subject matter of its inquiry. Reflecting on this text today will, I hope to show, highlight some of the ways in which Bobbio’s argument was the conclusion of a cycle and the crystallization of a long tradition of previous understandings and insights, rather than a fresh beginning for an essentially new world. The main elements of the argument Bobbio sets forth are too well known to discuss extensively here. In extreme synthesis, Bobbio’s treatment of the matter is analytic and procedural. In search of a unitary criterion to distinguish Left from Right, he focuses first on the rules of the game whose acceptance separates moderates from extremists in both camps. The preference for liberty is equated with this fundamental option in favor of democracy and constitutionalism (Bobbio, 1994: chap. II): liberty, therefore, is not a substantial goal of politics per se2, but rather a mode of its instantiation, a necessary procedural precondition (Bobbio, 1994: 80). Once Bobbio has absorbed the value of liberty into the notion of institutional guarantees of pluralism, he can then locate the substantive essence of the distinction between Left and Right in the normative relation to equality as a social goal (Bobbio, 1994: chap. VI).

II. In using Bobbio’s text as a mirror for the continuing relevance of the Right-Left political worldview at the beginning of the 21st century, I will be exploring two related methodological paths that escape the purview of his analysis: one investigating the pragmatic valence of the terms, the other, their conceptual history in the long run. The goal will be to highlight certain historical and conceptual dynamics that problematize Bobbio’s analytical framework for our contemporary predicament. The initial question to be confronted is: what kind of objects of analysis are “Left” and “Right”? Preliminarily, it may prove useful to circumscribe the argument by eliminating certain possibilities. In particular, I will not be discussing the psychological or neurological substratum that some have claimed to be at the basis of the most fundamental political cleavages (Lakoff, 2002). I will be focusing exclusively on the level of concepts and their social instantiation.

 1

One is reminded for instance – though the crisis was of course of an entirely different proportion – of Horkheimer and Adorno (1947). 2 Chataway’s (1998: 416) review has this key point exactly backwards.

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From a pragmatic, or sociolinguistic, point of view, I believe it is important to note first of all that “Right” and “Left” are at one and the same time heuristic instruments for the understanding of politics and reallife objects of political analysis in their own right. In other words, they are not mere analytical constructs of the researcher (as Weberian ideal-types are), nor are they simple empirical facts of the matter with no associated subjective identity or self-evident mobilizing potential, in the way demographic data such as age, educational attainment, or geographical distribution tend to be. We can make sense of the components of a party system, or of a range of policy options, for instance, by ordering them on a Right-Left dimension, but at the same time we can observe, say, the selfdescription of politicians or voters as Right-wing or Left-wing, using other variables to account for it. “Right” and “Left”, in other words, can map a directly experienced workaday worldview, widely shared by ordinary people, and can be seen to describe basic attitudes to social life, as well as directing fundamental psychological sympathies and enmities (Langford, 1991: 475), as in our Weimarian epigraph. Hence, a conceptual analysis is barred from reaching purely nominalist conclusions: the scholarly redefinitions of these terms find the limit of their plausibility (and analytic usefulness) in the lived experience of common, lay participants in politics. Some have claimed that the RightLeft conceptual couple is in fact only a pair of empty signifiers (White, 2011: 124-5), and to a certain extent it is indeed possible to trace a shift in their meaning in different contexts, in space and time. It does not follow, however, that “Right” and “Left” can intelligibly mean whatever one pleases, but only whatever the outcome of the power game for their redefinition (and the historical trajectory of the iterations of such games) has made them mean in specific circumstances. Along these lines, one should note how much “Right” and “Left”, as identity mechanisms, are sticky: they are entrenched in the institutional setup of contemporary democracies (especially in Europe3), and this entrenchment represents a powerful factor of conceptual and terminological inertia. The configuration is all the stronger, because in many ways the Right-Left dichotomy has assumed the role of ur-dualism, functionally required by many political institutions, and, arguably, by political culture at large. Such a function is most visible in parliamentary dynamics, as well as in electoral contests; indeed, wherever the agonic character of politics is

 3

The argument that the Left-Right cleavage is a specifically European political preoccupation is set forth in Gold’s (1998) review of Bobbio, and even more forcefully by Griffith (1998: 549-50), in a frankly superficial and ill-reasoned appraisal.

28

Norberto Bobbio’s Right and Left

prevalent, the dichotomous form is typically favored, and the Left-Right cleavage has often been integrated into this confrontation4. The institutional preference for this form of dualist political dynamic can be seen comparatively in the myriad constitutional engineering attempts to tweak electoral laws in order to oblige party systems to conform to an “orderly conduct”, with the two main groups alternating in power. So far, our discussion has not reached conclusions incompatible with Bobbio’s position. If ordinary people by and large know how to distinguish Right and Left in politics, and if official political life is run by and large according to such a cleavage, or in other words, if institutional structure and political culture are in a mutually reinforcing feedback loop, in what sense can we say that the concepts of Left and Right have entered a phase of indifferentiation in contemporary politics? The main problem, I claim, has to do with collective subjectivity. It is indeed still possible (as it in fact actually occurs) for individuals today to describe themselves broadly as Right- or Left-wing, despite all the inconsistencies of political culture as it is experienced “in the wild”; similarly, it is possible to describe certain policy solutions as more or less Right-wing or Left-wing. However, while the political system in many countries has built-in, near-automatic labels for a dualism in political discourse and competition centered on the Right-Left divide, what is becoming increasingly hard to imagine in Left-Right terms in our time is the existence of a collective subject (typically, a political party) able to exhibit the characteristics of agency, authorship, and consistency. In other words, the ability to operate within contemporary politics as a purely Leftwing or Right-wing force is gradually being foreclosed: the pressure towards syncretism, hybridization, and a “catch-all” attitude has become irresistible. To paraphrase the protagonist of Nanni Moretti’s film Aprile, the question is not so much whether one can say something Left-wing, but, rather, whether one can be Left-wing, and act organically as such.

III. In order to put this contemporary development in context, it is useful to turn to the historical dimension of the Right-Left cleavage. It is well

 4

This requirement for the expression and sanctioning of division, and the coercive implications for the electorate of its mapping upon the existing institutional embodiments of the Right-Left cleavage, is the starting point for José Saramago’s startling deconstructive thought experiment in his 2004 novel Ensaio Sobre a Lucidez.

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known that the terms “Right” and “Left” first gained a political connotation in France, in a revolutionary context, and specifically to describe a parliamentary arrangement5. Indeed, at least for those for whom the French Revolution represents a fundamental historical caesura, the modern age could appropriately be termed the age of the politics of Left and Right. The aspect of the narrative that receives less attention, and that I believe to be of fundamental importance, is the cultural framework within which the dichotomy was placed. This framework can be detected from the outset, but is often obscured by the contingencies of revolutionary action. It can be observed, paradigmatically, in a somewhat later period, the years of the mid-19th century that have subsequently been termed the “moment Guizot” (Rosanvallon, 1985). In this historical phase, the distinction between Left and Right was seen (to simplify radically) as one regarding the speed of adaptation to progress, consistently with a broad range of philosophies of history that basically agreed on the descriptive notion of change in modern society. This contextualization of the Right-Left divide can perhaps most clearly be observed in Tocqueville or in Auguste Comte, but it informs more generally the dominant frame of mind of the entire mid-century generation. Progress was seen to imply the transformation of society in the direction of democracy and social leveling, as a stage-model transition to political and economic modernity. Within this process, it was possible to conceive of a systemic balance between the opposite Weltanschauungen of Left and Right, as voicing two complementary and equally valid desires, for stability and for change. Thus, the reason to consider this phase of the conceptual history of Right and Left as paradigmatic is that it displayed most explicitly the capacity for coexistence of these opposite but complementary ideologies, and the normative value of such coexistence. Right and Left were considered necessary voices in reasonable politics, in competition, not in mortal conflict. Many times before and since, from the purge of the Girondins to the strictures of revolutionary socialism to contemporary neo-conservative rhetoric, one of the two sides has portrayed the other as completely superfluous, parasitic, foreign, essentially inimical to the sound element of the body politic. In fact, exclusionism has perhaps been the norm, rather than the exception: yet, by the immanent logic of the concepts, and their nature as relational spatial metaphors, a Right-wing is inconceivable without a Left-wing, and vice versa.

 5

It is perhaps one of the fringe benefits to be expected of the waning of the Continent’s global fortunes that the original (and avowed) Euro-centrism of the dichotomy may progressively come to be perceived more through the lens of historical contextualization than through the stigma of implicit supremacism.

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Norberto Bobbio’s Right and Left

Consequently, I believe an argument can be made that a more nuanced understanding of the historical development of such terms should take as its baseline a configuration in which they both accepted each other’s legitimacy, as alternating teleologies, or, to be more precise, as different rhythms of the same teleology. This choice of a baseline, of course, should not be taken to imply that within the general liberal and progress-oriented framework of the mid-19th century there was no space for some redefinition of terms: what the material content of progress would be, or what counted as an arena of social leveling, could in fact shift over time, and not necessarily gradually. Furthermore, the dichotomous principles of Left and Right could be detached to some extent from the specific social actors embodying them. Thus, Italian parliamentary politics, for instance, was divided during the first generation after independence between a so-called Destra e Sinistra storiche, who conceived of themselves respectively as the party of stability and the party of movement, but whose social referents both belonged to the approximately 2.5% of the population who had the vote; a generation later, it was the Socialist Party (P.S.I.), affiliated with the Second International, who had donned the mantle of social and economic change6. Some flexibility, therefore, existed. When considered from the perspective of the pace of progress, however, it is not hard to notice a major discontinuity within 20th-century European history in the relationship of Right and Left. It is not necessary to agree on the causes of the end of this historical configuration, whether they are to be found in the attainment of socio-economic modernity, or rather in the catastrophic crisis of violence of the 30-year European civil war (Traverso, 2007), nor is it necessary to isolate a specific turning point (1914? 1917? 1933?), in order to conclude that we are no longer part of that world. Today, Left and Right no longer map out attitudes to progress and its speed, because progress is no longer conceived of unitarily, and as an unavoidable, immanent destiny. It follows (it may be remarked in passing) that Victorian modernity is no longer something that can be rejoined, after the detour of the “Age of Extremes”, as some, especially in the post-cold-war euphoria of the 1990s, had advocated7. A naturalization of technological advance and economic expansion as the leading social dynamics, such as defines the dominant



6 Another example from the same time-period can be found in the progressive slide to the Center of successive radical Left-wing parties under the Third French Republic (Bouthillon, 2005). 7 The argument on the “end of history” was, essentially, an ideological attempt to place the history of the 20th century in parentheses.

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worldview today, clearly is not at all equivalent to the almost metaphysical belief in progress present in such texts as Mill’s The Spirit of the Age (1831), or even Spencer’s Social Statics (1851). Otherwise put, contemporary society cannot reflexively endorse an overarching philosophy of history: Weber has conclusively won the argument with Hegel8. The most important development in this shift in the notions of Left and Right away from the reference to progress can be seen in the severing of the constitutive tie between the notions of democracy and revolution, which undergirded the relations of moderate Left and Right during the moment Guizot. In the 19th century, it was possible to conceive of democracy as a goal to be attained through revolutionary means; at the same time, revolution could figure as the alternative to democracy, the shortcut for the attainment of political progress and social leveling. Revolution was the radical alternative whose possibility maintained an equilibrium in the political game, by permanently threatening the stability of any procedural blockage of the reform process by the agents of the traditional status quo. Such a tension is no more: democracy is an actually-existing phenomenon in the First World, all the less an object of normative aspirations as the lack of any credible alternative has tended to turn it into an empty universal. The expectations of democracy’s workaday functioning have been ever-more circumscribed with respect to its inclusivity, ethos, and publicly beneficial outcomes, from Pareto’s elitist critique to Schumpeter’s electoral market to public choice theory. In parallel, revolution no longer credibly promises the possibility of better worlds, or indeed of anything except variations on violence. The civilizational impossibility of attributing any political meaning to violence finds its historical consummation today, when the only collective actors who are prepared to assert the necessity of force in any other guise than police action in a damage-limitation mode are chiliasts of various religious persuasions. For everyone else, the idea (or myth) of “progress” can no longer justify the effort, the sacrifices, the fate of the vanquished: the loss of a generalized “desire to believe” is reflected in the pragmatic unfelicitousness of any discursive appeal to revolution. In Europe, in the wake of the historical experience of totalitarianism, the idea of progress is radically weakened; all the more so are the modern modes of political intercourse, democracy and revolution. In this perspective, the institutional

 8

On the crisis of teleology in 19th century German thought, see the classic study by Löwith (1964).

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Norberto Bobbio’s Right and Left

structure separating moderates and extremists, which for Bobbio was a precondition of the Left-Right cleavage, is decisively sapped. Quite apart from speculation on a world-historical scale, however, we should not be blind to the empirical fact that, even independently of these developments, certain elements of political life had all along resisted incorporation within the worldviews of Right and Left. We need not be detained overmuch by cases such as the “triangular” Socialist-LiberalChristian Democrat politics of the Low Countries, which appear to escape a neat one-dimensional Right-Left continuum, or the peculiar case of Ireland and its civil war-originated political cleavages, although both examples suggest that the Right-Left dichotomy has been far from exclusive even in its European heartland (Lijphart, 1984: chap 8, esp. table 20). More importantly, at least since the aftermath of 1848, the notion of nationalism, taken not as a reactionary instrumentum regni, but rather on its own terms, as the foregrounding of the fundamental question of politics regarding the definition of the boundaries of the polity, has transcended the framework of the dichotomy. Nationalists of all nations and in all historical circumstances have aimed to place themselves beyond Left and Right, aspiring to an ontological unity of the body of the people that would subsume as contingent any political dichotomy. Contemporary notions of Empire and cosmopolitism, while completely at odds with nationalism (whether of nation-States, sub-national entities, or stateless peoples), may be seen to follow the same broad logic. The idea of unity predominates, the question of belonging is the burning one: issues of equality are definitely concerned, but it seems that the mapping of Right- and Leftwing positions within these debates, as opposed to more traditional material issues, is problematic at best. One might almost be tempted to turn the problem on its head, by suggesting that a conceptual history of the Right-Left dichotomy could only be completed by attempting the parallel history of the slogan “Neither Right Nor Left” – a history which to my knowledge has never been attempted systematically. I suspect that one would come across quite strange bedfellows, from the French proto-fascists that Zeev Sternhell has studied (Sternhell, 2000), to Horowitz’s anti-elitist insurgents (Horowitz, 1997), to the contemporary student/populist movement of the Indignados in Spain, not to mention the radical Third Way aspirations of the 1990s (Giddens, 1995; Dyrberg, 2009). At least some groups and positions might perhaps give the lie to the tongue-in-cheek formulation of the issue by Serge Quadruppani (Wu Ming 1, 2012: 2a), according to whom there are two fundamental ways of being neither Left-wing nor Right-wing (a Right-wing way, and a Left-wing one).

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IV. What are the consequences of the historical shift we have been at pains to describe for the suitability of Bobbio’s categorization of Left and Right in our present historical predicament? It is widely argued that the end of the Bretton Woods system, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the advent of globalization have sent the traditional concepts of Left and Right into a state of indeterminacy. Opinions differ, however, as to the dynamics of this shift. In one sense, one may simply speak of a secular victory of the Right, itself coming at the end of a long period of responsibility-inducing “apprivoisement de la gauche” (of which the “tribunicial” roles of the French and Italian Communist Parties in the first postwar decades, for instance, were a notable transitional form). Inasmuch as the topic of equality is considered from a material, economic standpoint, there is today no systemic political alternative to free-market globalization. There are discontents, but no viable theory of this discontent, and for all intents and purposes economic processes at the source of inequality are depoliticized and naturalized9. In short, despite the plight of globalization’s dispossessed, and the traumas of this past halfdecade (not to mention the ones still to come), we appear to be within a broadly hegemonic situation, of which the proliferation of groups who feel non-represented or mis-represented by the instantiation of the traditional Right-Left cleavage is a symptom, more than a transcendence. Strange defeat for the Left, to be sure, in that the antinomies of the Right-wing position highlighted in the course of the 20th century by Leftwing critiques were in no way overcome by new social or cultural developments at the end of the Cold War: one could hardly speak of the winning over of hearts and minds, especially outside the First World, as much as of unilateral disarmament, or of a forfeited game. In any case, public discourse has undeniably shifted, and certain areas of contestation have simply been removed from mainstream debate. In spite of these considerations, I believe that Right-wing triumphalism is an ultimately one-sided description of the situation, which masks the existential threat to the Right itself under the new prevailing conditions. For instance, it is rather significant, I would claim, that in the past twenty years the electoral force of many established conservative parties in Europe has been eroded by the rise of a congeries of radically anti-system

 9

It is perhaps not merely coincidental that the naturalization of economic processes proceeds hand-in-hand with the de-naturalization of political obedience and the disappearance of deference, i.e. the closing of an epoch in which politics could still rely on popular faith in the redemptive power of violence (v. section III).

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Norberto Bobbio’s Right and Left

populist movements (who, more often than not, claim to be “beyond Left and Right”). The de-politicization of what once constituted the core of the Left-Right divide is not simply a partisan victory – it is driven by a crisis of politics as a whole, and in particular a crisis of democracy at the level of the nation-State. One indicator of the disempowerment of national politics is the substantial failure of the project of economic and social rights. In the immediate postwar years, the codification of minimum standards for the services citizens were allowed to expect as a right from their governments was seen as a key aspect of the recovery from totalitarianism and of the relegitimation of nation-States after the war (Milward, 1992). The route chosen was consciously molded on the liberal tradition of civil and political rights codification: key elements of the social order are placed beyond the whims of transient majorities, as unconditional guarantees of the “rules of the game”, defining social interaction and limiting partisan political decision-making. The assertion of new rights, in the suitably august setting of UN-sponsored international treaties, themselves seen as the final juridical sanction of a transition originating in the evolving normative perceptions of global political culture, could therefore be considered an embodiment of the march of social progress as emancipation. In the decades since 1945, the popularity of the main planks of social and economic rights, such as decorous employment, access to healthcare, availability of education, protection against work-related injury, and so forth, has not been significantly eroded among electorates. However, political systems (with notable local differences, in magnitude and sequencing) have on the whole proven incapable of implementing the notion of economic and social rights. In fact, the spirit of modernity has ever more closely come to coincide with the severability of economic and social advances: the end of pre-modern status distinctions has not spelt the end of stratification or social distance – indeed, quite the contrary. A series of traumatic events, beginning perhaps with the debt crisis that hit many developing countries in the early 1980s, and ultimately reaching the center of the global economic system with the current financial meltdown, have impelled governments at the very least to scale back significantly the social policy goals that constituted the key popular demands at the heart of the post-war social compact. The result is a net loss of relevance for politics as a whole, which punishes Right- and Left-wing political forces indiscriminately, as electorates rail in vain against what are seen as economic inevitabilities, disavowing successive governments in turn, as overall trust in the institutions wanes. As the State’s decisions lose their importance for the everyday economic life of ordinary citizens (i.e., as the

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naturalization of macroeconomic processes is consolidated), a new pluralism erodes the political space once claimed by the mass parties of Left and Right. In addition, increased political apathy and a fall in electoral participation lead to the progressive evaporation of the underclass’ political representation.

V. In conclusion, I would like to claim that a reconstruction of the shift in the semantic content of the concepts of Right and Left, leading to the current crisis in their usage, cannot truly be separated from an appreciation of the general crisis of politics in its national form. If this is true, however, Bobbio’s idea of liberty as a procedural option in favor of democracy is fundamentally called into question. In other words, “Right” and “Left” mean less to us today because the material ground on which these ideas pitched their battles is now occupied by forces that are essentially beyond the grasp of the institutions within the political arena that can be directed to Left- or Right-wing agendas. A possibility that suggests itself in the face of these developments is an expansion, a morphing of partisan action to the global level, where forces affecting issues meaningful to the Right-Left cleavage may still be of an endogenous nature, potentially subject to political will. The course of the 20th century, however, witnessed the repeated, complete, and often tragic failure of just such a transformation. A politics of Left and Right among nations was proposed in many forms, from the early myth of the “proletarian nation” devised by Italian colonial agit (Pascoli, 1911) to the Comintern; in no case did the logic of partisan ideological loyalties manage to assert itself decisively in the face of traditional reason of State, and the results were uniformly exploitative. In this, the antinomies of U.S. “democracy promotion” during the Cold War, as well as contemporary international criminal justice campaigns, are merely following a well-worn path10. If such a transformation of the politics of Left and Right is to be at all possible, new identities and new institutions will need to be imagined. This, in a Weberian mode, is the political task of the future, the Forderung

 10

The dilemma of internationalization is all the more wrenching for Europe, as in these days we are witnessing what will perhaps amount to a decisive failure of the “little globalization” project, with which the Continent was counting to live out its age of retirement from the world stage, a project occupying a peculiar but wholly characteristic middle ground between an aggregation of national party systems and the well-meaning and out-of-touch technocracy of international organization.

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Norberto Bobbio’s Right and Left

des Tages. The alternative is our current status quo: if politics, especially as regards popular participation and mobilization, is to remain concerned primarily with questions of membership, in the face of the indeterminate multitude of non-represented Others (as has increasingly been the case in the past twenty years), it is probable that “Left” and “Right”, in the sense in which we have historically known them, and of which Bobbio has provided an admirable portrait, will no longer appear relevant, and ultimately intelligible, to the new global world of our century.

References Bobbio, Norberto (1994), Destra e sinistra. Ragioni e significato di una distinzione politica, Roma: Donzelli. Bouthillon, Fabrice (2005), L’illégitimité de la République. Considérations sur l’histoire politique de la France au XIXe siècle (1851-1914), Paris: Plon. Chataway, Teresa (1998), “Review of Ideological Profile of Twentieth Century Italy, The Age of Rights, and Left and Right: The Significance of a Political Distinction by Norberto Bobbio”, Theory and Society, 27 (3): 411-7. Dyrberg, Torben Bech (2009), “What is beyond right/left? The case of New Labour”, Journal of Political Ideologies, 14 (2): 133–53. Giddens, Anthony (1995), Beyond Left and Right: The Future of Radical Politics, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Ginsborg, Paul (1996), L’Italia del tempo presente. Famiglia, società civile, Stato (1980-1996), Torino: Einaudi. Gold, Thomas W. (1998), “Review of Left and Right: The Significance of a Political Distinction by Norberto Bobbio”, The American Political Science Review, 92 (1): 199. Griffith, Mark F. (1998), “Review of Left and Right: The Significance of a Political Distinction by Norberto Bobbio”, The Journal of Politics, 60 (2): 549-551. Horkheimer, Max, and Adorno, Theodor W. (1947, 2002), Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Horowitz, David A. (1997), Beyond Left & Right: Insurgency and the Establishment, Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. Lakoff, George (2002), Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

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Langford, Tom (1991), “Left-right Orientation and Political Attitudes: A Reappraisal and Class Comparison”, Canadian Journal of Political Science / Revue canadienne de science politique, 24 (3): 475-98. Lijphart, Arend (1984), Democracies. Patterns of Majoritarian and Consensus Government in Twenty-One Countries, London: Yale University Press. Löwith, Karl (1964), From Hegel to Nietzsche: The Revolution in Nineteenth-Century Thought, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Mill, John Stuart (1831, 1942), The Spirit of the Age, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Milward, Alan S. (1992), The European Rescue of the Nation-State, London: Routledge. Pascoli, Giovanni (1911), La grande proletaria si è mossa...: discorso tenuto a Barga per i nostri morti e feriti, Bologna: Zanichelli. Rosanvallon, Pierre (1985), Le moment Guizot, Paris: Gallimard. Saramago, José (2004), Ensaio sobre a lucidez, Lisboa: Caminho. Spencer, Herbert (1851), Social statics: or, The conditions essential to human happiness specified, and the first of them developed, London: Chapman. Sternhell, Zeev (2000), Ni droite ni gauche: l’idéologie fasciste en France, Paris: Fayard. Traverso, Enzo (2007), A feu et à sang: de la guerre civile européenne, 1914-1945, Paris: Stock. White, Jonathan (2011), “Left and Right as political resources”, Journal of Political Ideologies, 16 (2): 123–44. Wu Ming 1 [Roberto Bui] (2012), “Appunti diseguali sulla frase «Né destra, né sinistra»”, Giap!, 2 January (http://www.wumingfoundation.com/giap/?p=6524).

A MULTI-AXIAL ANALYSIS OF THE LEFT-RIGHT OPPOSITION IN SOCIETY AND POLITICS PETER CAWS*

The fact that our working title involves “revisiting” the Great Dichotomy between left and right suggests that for a time, intermittently at least, we’ve been away from it. It is true that in the more than two hundred years of its history as a dominant opposition among others, left versus right has not always been at the focus of attention. Some major confrontations – for example the two world wars of the twentieth century, and the current post-9/11 tension between Islam and the West – do not easily align themselves along this axis. In this paper I shall suggest, however, that even if there is no single overall axis that now usefully characterizes the main political and ideological conflicts of our time in terms of left and right, there remain a number of specific dimensions along which contrasting positions can be represented in these terms, which together preserve something of the meaning first attached to them in the late eighteenth century. That meaning was prepared by a very much older habit of human thought that tended to associate affective concepts with bodily parts and movements, leading to some of the “primitive classifications” described by Durkheim and Mauss (1963). There are three obvious binary oppositions of the six elements of bodily orientation: higher/lower, forward/back, and left-right – the Cherokee added a seventh, unpaired element, “pointing inward” (Garrett and Garrett, 2002). “Higher” and “forward” seem obviously superior to their opposites, but “right” might not have been similarly marked had it not been for some geographical features of early human settlement and culture. The practice of divination by auspices required the augur to stand with his back to the sun, and in the northern hemisphere this would mean that the east was at his right hand and the



* University Professor of Philophy Emeritus at The George Washington University.

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west to his left – the good direction from which the sun emerged bright in the morning, and the bad direction into which it was lost to darkness in the evening. So “left” became “sinister”. It is not clear how regularly left-handedness was independently associated with some sort of anomaly or deficiency, or how far back hemispheric dominance can be traced, but the association of the left with darkness or evil and the right with light and goodness must have been well established before it showed up in sacred texts as, for example, the places respectively of honor and of condemnation at the right and left hands of God. This connotation of the left (which remains as a subtext in some contemporary political rhetoric) must have seemed appropriate during the French national assembly in 1789, when the passionately revolutionary parties gathered on the left of the president while the warily conservative ones gathered on the right: the peasants and the bourgeois over against the nobility and the church. This arrangement, while it left its mark on subsequent political history, was however in the first place accidental – it was just that the nobility naturally assumed the place of honor, not that the others consigned themselves voluntarily to that of dishonor – and in the second place it represented a mainly external relationship between the parties concerned. It was a contrast of circumstances – private property over against deprivation, inclusion against exclusion, domination against exploitation. Whatever may have been the private beliefs of royalty and the nobility about the comparative worth of individuals from the higher and lower classes, this was not a deep opposition; if one of the dispossessed could have taken the place of one of the privileged (and acquired the education and the manners of the court) he could have occupied it quite as well. This interchangeability of individuals continues to manifest itself in the more recent dialectic of left and right: young liberals undergo a metamorphosis into old reactionaries if and as they manage to climb the ladder of position and wealth. (There is a saying that if a man is not a radical when young he has no heart, but if he is not a conservative when old he has no head.1) I call this sequence of changing political affiliation with increasing years “scrolling”, a process by which members of the newer generation can be relied on to take the places of their predecessors in the older one. Other things being equal, it lends stability to the political



1 Paraphrase of a statement attributed to François Guizot (1787-1874): “N’être pas republicain à vingtansestpreuve d’un manque de coeur; l’être après trenteansestpreuve d’un manque de tête.” (“Not to be a republican at twenty is proof of want of heart; to be one at thirty is proof of want of head.”) (The Yale Book of Quotations, 2006: 327).

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landscape, and is part of the structure that keeps the conventional party system alive. It may be more important simply to have a government and a loyal opposition than to be concerned with the details of the platform of either party. John Stuart Mill seems to have thought something like this: “a party of order or stability and a party of progress or reform, are both necessary elements of a healthy state of political life” (Mill, 1859: 110). Which happens to be in power at a given moment does not matter that much – their goals may have more in common than their differences would suggest. The situation may lend itself to a degree of cynicism; it is from such a basic pattern of non-specific alternation that Hilaire Belloc’s old poem “On a General Election” gets its plausibility (Belloc, 1944: 170): “The accursèd power which stands on Privilege (And goes with Women, and Champagne and Bridge) Broke—and Democracy resumed her reign: (Which goes with Bridge, and Women and Champagne)”.

Not that all is well with such an arrangement: if left and right succeed in finding a comfortable accommodation in the corridors of power (if, in the language of Orwell’s Animal Farm, it becomes difficult to tell the pigs from the people), there will still be excluded groups to keep the old tensions alive. As long as democratic aspirations and distributive justice are not served the inequalities between the haves and the have-nots will ensure the perpetuation of a class on the inside, looking fearfully out, at a class on the outside, looking enviously in; for the former their situation seems in comfortably satisfactory, so that the only possible change must be a change for the worse, while for the latter their situation seems unsustainable, so that any change cannot but be a change for the better. The risk meanwhile is that the parties sharing power may be alienated from this real confrontation – their operatives may become a third class, the “new class” of Milovan Djilas, an opportunistic Aufhebungof the left and right opposition which exploits and profits from their mutual mistrust (Djilas, 1957). To return to the pattern of scrolling (which is only one form of twoparty alternation): this will normally proceed from left to right – its dynamic is set up by the contrast between the poor, youth, children, the future, the strange on the one hand and the rich, age, parents, the past, the familiar on the other. The poor may become rich, youth will become aged, children may become parents, the future will become the past, the strange may become familiar. For that matter, the obscure may become prominent. In the French revolutionary context the Third Estate (the trades) was pitted

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against the nobility – “noble” means precisely what is known (its connection with the language of knowledge can be seen in its opposite, “ignoble”, where the -g- comes eventually from gnosis). The nobles were known to each other, and to the king, but as time went on some of the bourgeois similarly became known by name, initially as notorious but in some cases eventually even as ennobled. (In a similar way but in a much later context trade union officials, when they have acquired money and acceptance, have been in danger of assimilation into the ruling classes.) A footnote is needed here in the matter of names: traditionally the nobles would have had names deriving from place and property, while the tradesmen would have had names descriptive of the trade they followed. Names from a particular place would mainly belong on the right, names denoting a particular calling would mainly belong on the left. A byproduct of this contrast was the mobility of the tradesmen, who could take their skills with them anywhere, and the comparative immobility of the nobles, whose names carried weight only at or near the places from which they were derived. John Smith could be a smith anywhere, but the lord of the manor was lord only at home in his manor. Up to this point, then, we might say that the opposition between left and right was mainly economic and historical – a matter of power and its tendency to change hands, as envisaged for example by Hegel in the dialectic of master and slave. The eventual triumph of the slave, so eloquently described by Kojève, is a result not of the master’s inferiority or the slave’s superiority but of the situations in which they respectively find themselves – the master wishing to be waited on and thus becoming spoiled (as the slave would have been inclined to do in his place), the slave being forced to confront the world’s facticity and learning to dominate it (as the master would have been obliged to do in his) (Kojève, 1947). There is no element of ideology in the equation, only of opportunity and necessity. Complications arise: occasionally things go the other way (the rich may, after all, become poor). Above all a growing awareness of self and of social situation brings a psychological element into the mixture. Any system of government cannot help but place some individuals in positions of power over others – the very concept of civil or political order implies this. So some of the major figures on the traditional right (not that they would all have agreed with one another!) – Johnson, Burke, even Kant – stress “subordination” and the necessity of its acceptance by the majority of the people, who cannot be allowed to pit their own imperfect understanding or inflated self-esteem against the weight of authority and tradition. There is some point to this argument, but it also has its risks –

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the language is not neutral when it leads to the associated concept of “insubordination” and the imposition of penalties for that offense. Differences arise among the subordinated themselves, between those who feel belittled by their subjection and resent it and those who, as it were, embrace it – willing to be the loyal “downstairs” to the “upstairs” of their supposed superiors – forerunners perhaps of Adorno’s authoritarian personalities (Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswik, Levinson, and Sanford, 1950). The unrest in the former group is no doubt helped along by Rousseau’s discussions of chains and inequalities, which, while they predate the French Revolution, served as time went on to redirect attention from economic and political issues to social and psychological ones. Would the Revolution have taken the course it did if the economic situation had not lent itself to interpretation in the language of political philosophy? We might say that the ground had been prepared by Hobbes and Locke, and yet the Glorious Revolution in England had played out quite differently. Even if we allow ourselves anachronistic interpretations of King and Parliament, Cavaliers and Roundheads, in terms of right and left, the opposition between revolution and reaction is less ideologically fraught in the English case, and does not last as long. Two further footnotes here: it is again anachronistic to speak of “ideology” before the French Revolution, since the notion was introduced by Cabanis and Destutt de Tracy almost a generation later (Cabanis, 1844); and of course the opposition did not last long in France either, given the story of Napoleon (with his aversion to the very idea of ideology) and the eventual Bourbon restoration. It is a difficult question, but on the whole the eighteenth-century revolutions are not best thought of in terms of our later conceptions of left and right, even though they provide the historical background. Something else animates the Great Dichotomy and calls for a different approach. It is tempting to see a replay of the French Revolution in the Russian and Chinese versions (as it is tempting to see the French Revolution as a replay of the English and American versions). But things are not so simple. What I now want to suggest is that, starting perhaps with Rousseau (not too late to influence some of the revolutionaries, but too late to define the revolution) a shift occurs, so that the contrast between left and right becomes a matter of principle or temperament or character rather than one of class or economic status as given. This means that a writer and thinker might work out an argument in no way representative of his or her birth or economic background. Who before Marx for example would have chosen to be on the side of the dispossessed rather than that of the possessors because of abstract considerations of justice?

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At this point, therefore, the strategy of my paper is reversed: instead of assuming poles of left and right, I shall explore a number of axes along which change can be discerned from one extreme to another, and only then ask to which side of the Great Dichotomy the extremes belong. I start out with seven of these but their number has been growing. The seven are, in no particular order: 1. a philosophical axis, along which at one extreme conviction and practice drive argument and influence evidence, while at the other argument and evidence drive conviction and influence practice; 2. a political axis, along which at one extreme local interests govern, the concept of community is restricted, and there is an emphasis on liberty, while at the other global interests govern, the concept of community is enlarged, and there is an emphasis on equality; 3. a moral axis, along which at one extreme the primary concern of the individual is for self, involving a relative indifference to others, while at the other there is an equal concern for other people, and a relative modesty about the self; 4. a religious axis, along which at one extreme is a professed belief in an exigent God, and a concern to enforce revealed law, while at the other such belief as there may be (and there will often be none) will be in a compassionate God, and law will be viewed as a human product; 5. an economic axis, along which at one extreme is an attachment to personal wealth, accompanied by objections to taxation and hostility to social programs, while at the other wealth will command a lesser importance, taxation will be readily tolerated and social programs supported (this axis is of particular interest in Europe today, when social programs are being cut from professed motives of economic austerity—I note in passing a poster in the main square of Braga at the time when this paper was being written: “impoverishment is not the solution”); 6. a behavioral axis, along which at one extreme individuals wish to impose their own standards and are willing to tell other people what they ought to do, while at the other individuals are willing to respect the standards of their fellows and are rather disposed to ask other people what they want to do; and 7. a historical axis, along which at one extreme will be found traditionalists clinging to the past, and at the other adventurous souls open to the future. This exercise could be prolonged – other polarities come readily to mind, for example between free markets on the one hand and planned economies on the other, or between an indifference to the torture of humans on the one hand and a concern for the welfare of animals on the

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other, or between stressing liberty on one hand and equality on the other – a contrast that Ronald Dworkin, for example, has suggested (Dworkin, 1980). The strategic point of the enumeration of these positions is to tease out patterns or attitudes endemic in the human population which seem at first glance to be independent of political alignments. But it will be obvious enough that some of them cluster, and that some lend themselves to simplification and exaggeration. Focus on the self, for example, can be pushed all the way to the stubborn independence of the Miller of Dee in the old nursery song, whose motto was “I care for nobody, no not I, and nobody cares for me”, while focus on the other can, conversely, lead to the sacrificial selflessness of Jesus Christ, carrying the burdens of the whole world in his person. Most of us fall somewhere near the middle of this swing from egoism to altruism – indeed most of us fall somewhere near the middle of all the axes I have suggested. At the same time there can I think be discerned what might be thought of as scrolling with a longer historical wavelength, this time not from left to right but in the opposite direction, in which, to put an admittedly optimistic slant on the situation, stubborn conviction is slowly giving way to reasoned argument, exclusivity to acceptance, selfish indifference to concern for others, the rigid assumptions of ancient belief to the gradual evolution of law and morality, greed to social welfare, righteous insistence to tolerance, nostalgic tradition to a confident future. Something like this is perhaps what Steven Pinker has in mind when he speaks of the slowly growing influence of what, following Abraham Lincoln, he calls the “better angels of our nature” (Pinker, 2011)2. Too optimistic by far, you will be thinking. By any of these measures the current situation seems on the contrary to be quite bleak: the growth of consumerism and corporate culture, the resurgence of fundamentalism, the near-total failure of educational policy in many parts of the world, the unwillingness of a great part of the population to curb its appetites, or to assume its responsibilities in matters of taxation and willingness to look out for the welfare of others. But what are the alternatives? What I just called “stubborn conviction” certainly survives, but it is up against hard evidence, if only this could be acknowledged. Perhaps the most startling piece of evidence comes from population statistics. When I was born, there were about 2 billion people in the world; now there are about 7 billion. At a recent reunion of participants in the

 2

Pinker’s title (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined) refers to the closing words of Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address (4 March 1861).

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1968 Club of Rome discussions the general consensus was that a global catastrophe is now virtually inevitable, but if this fact could be driven home to world leaders and their constituencies steps might still be taken to avert the worst. What is required is an exercise in consciousness-raising. The old convictions of the left (and here I have to avow my own partiality) saw the solution in terms of enlightenment, which being interpreted is called education. One of the most articulate advocates of this view was Thomas Jefferson: “educate and inform the whole mass of the people”, he said, “they are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty” (Jefferson, 1900: I: 277). (“Our” can be read here as applying internationally and not only to eighteenth-century America.) Unfortunately the thesis that good and wise government is actually possible, given universal education, has never really been tested, even in the so-called Western democracies – but the thought that its power still remains, if untapped, is in fact consoling. The education in question could not of course be conducted along starkly ideological lines, which would only evoke paralyzing extremes – I think of the kind of standoff that results for example when radical redistribution confronts radical deregulation, and partisans of both sides reject the teaching of more balanced views. But we simply must keep working at the dissemination of impartial knowledge not skewed by ideological or religious assumptions. It seems to me that the left has lost its vision and its nerve, which never should have been world domination in the Communist mode but rather a universal human sympathy and a resolve to deal with problems cooperatively and inclusively. At the same time, on the other side of the ledger, very many people have at some level or other a religious interest or conviction, which – except in the rare case when this follows from honest and disinterested inquiry – automatically puts an element of right-leaning drive into their attitude. (“Disinterested” rules out cases where the religion has been embraced as a solution to merely personal difficulties – as for example in George W. Bush’s admission that he turned to God because of a drinking problem.) The trouble with religion is that it makes people think they know things they don’t really know, and this assumed knowledge takes precedence over evidence and argument. Assumed knowledge without justification is a form of belief, and I am tempted here to add yet another axis, along which believing would occupy the right and thinking the left, though that would take more defense than I have room for here. I end however with the thought that widespread unwarranted belief and its accompanying ignorance is the main problem that has to be faced, although it is one that many people, if not most, will do their best not to confront. There has to be a way of challenging that avoidance.

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References Adorno, T., Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D. J. and Sanford, R. N. (1950), The Authoritarian Personality, New York: Harper and Brothers. Belloc, H. (1944), Sonnets and Verse, New York: Sheed and Ward. Bobbio, N. (1996), Left and Right: The Significance of a Political Distinction, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Cabanis, P. J. G. (1844), Rapports du physique et du moral de l’homme et lettresur les causes premières; avec une table analytique par Destutt de Tracy, Paris: Baillière. Durkheim, E. and Mauss, M. (1963), Primitive Classification, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Dworkin, R. (1980), “Liberalism”, in Caws, P. (ed.) Two Centuries of Philosophy in America, Totowa, NJ: Rowan and Littlefield. Garrett, J. T. and Garrett, M.T. (2002), The Cherokee Full Circle: A Practical Guide to Ceremonies and Traditions, Rochester, VT: Bear and Company. Giddens, A. (1994), Beyond Left and Right: The Future of Radical Politics, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Jefferson, T. (1900, 1967), The Jefferson Cyclopedia, ed. John P. Foley, New York: Russell and Russell. Kojève, A. (1947, 1969), Introduction to the Reading of Hegel, assemb. Raymond Queneau, ed. Allan Bloom, New York: Basic Books. McManus, C. (2002), Right Hand, Left Hand: The Origins of Asymmetry in Brains, Bodies, Atoms and Cultures, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Mill, J. S. (1859, 1970), On Liberty, London: Penguin Books. Milovan, D. (1957, 1976), The New Class: An Analysis of the Communist System, New York: Praeger. Nozick, R. (1974), Anarchy, State, and Utopia, New York: Basic Books. Pinker, Steven (2011), The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, New York: Viking. Unger, R. M. (2009), The Left Alternative, London: Verso. Walzer, M. (1983), Spheres of Justice: A Defense of Pluralism and Equality, New York: Basic Books. The Yale Book of Quotations (2006), ed. Fred R. Shapiro, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

GIVING YOU RIGHT AND LEFT WINGS* CRISTINA MONTALVÃO SARMENTO1, PATRÍCIA OLIVEIRA2 AND JOANA FERREIRA3

We consider the classic opposition right and left as a dichotomy of linear western political thought and, as so, implied on the structure of the political system,functioning as an instrument to understand how political power uses cultural tools and captures them for integration and for ideological purposes. On this paper, we remember the wide debate around the essence of these terms – right and left –, while introducing another approach to political culture, as a mechanism of integration, manifested in contemporary societies. Lastly, we bring to a close that no matter which wings political power uses, as an integrative culture, it is a resource to legitimizegovernance that is not necessarily derived of the left or the right wings common sense. When talking about the political man (Lipset, 1960), one of the first questions everyone asks is: is he left-wing or right-wing? In general, whoever considers left-wing or right-wing links these categories to positive values. Presumably, deductive thought would allow determining the meaning of each term through the restrictive enumeration of these values. However, the wide debate concerning the essence of these terms demonstrates the difficulties of determining such values. Our analysis finds out that the political settings that support left and right discourses presuppose four levels of double survey: tradition and renewal, values and

 *

The authors would like to thank Paulo Barcelos and Pedro Mendonça, both Associate Researchers from the Observatório Político / Political Observatory, for their generosity and valuable comments and reviews on this paper. 1 Director of the Political Observatory. Professor of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities of the New University of Lisbon and of the Technical University of Lisbon. 2 Associate Researcher at the Political Observatory; PhD candidate on Political Science at Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities of the New University of Lisbon. 3 Associate Researcher at the Political Observatory.

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action, history and experience and, finally, ideology and integration. Therefore we can review the use of culture as a mechanism for ideological dissemination and as a tool for legitimate governance in mass-culture societies.

Stuck on Left-wing and Right-wing For more than two centuries, since the French Revolution, the opposing terms “right-wing” and “left-wing” have been used to express an opposition of ideology and social movements through which the universe of thought and political action is divided (Bobbio, 1994), and ever since fixed the description of the political system. Thinking through opposites has been thoroughly explained, and there are different examples of this rationality in all domains of knowledge (such as, in economics, the dichotomy of market and plan or, in law, the division of private and public). As in all dichotomies, the two terms never have the same strength. Undeniably, it cannot be said that one is always stronger and the other weaker. The power of each term can change according to different points of view and the criteria adopted to evaluate the two terms. The right and left dichotomy has been contested from different sides and at the origin of the first doubts about the disappearance, or at least the reduction, of the representative power of distinction, there is the so-called crisis of ideologies. Defended under the thesis of ideological appeasement, wider debates took place. The starting point was at the Milan Conference of 1955, with the theme “Future of Freedom”. At the Rheinfelden Conferences (Aron, Bell, 1960), the thesis of ideological appeasement developed around the principle of depoliticising politics, i.e., dispraising an administrative solution for social problems while considering the citizens’ social order to be related to the well-functioning of democratic societies. The tendency of stable democracies, corresponding to the concepts of industrial or contributory societies (Galbraith, 1985), is to misplace the sense of difference between right and left so long as technical worries could overcome political ones. The impressive expansion of the productive forces, coupled with explanations of sociological meaning, tries to set in stone a new definition of capitalism – the new-capitalism – that would involve changes in the spirit and in traditional practices. This would be enhanced by the emergence of the new leading elite of technocrats. But it is precisely in Western society where phenomena such as youth rallies, vindication of legitimacy for contra-societies, among other

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phenomena such as the emerging of politically organised and functional non-political international authorities, created new themes and the formulation of new ideologies generated a successful renewal to tradition.

Crossed Routes Despite the dynamic of change the representative power of distinction of the right-left dichotomy is useful, and clarifying the sense of its terms constitutes an important political goal. In an effort to systematize this question, Bobbio identified, through the existing critique in the literature on this theme (Laponce, 1981), the existence of four distinctive subdimensions of right and left, respectively: moderates / extremists; tradition / emancipation (Confrancesco, 1981); hierarchy / equality; conservatives / progressives - in which the right-wing corresponds respectively to the former term of the comparative duo and the left-wing to the latter. Even though Bobbio intended to be axiologically neutral in his analysis, he was inclined to accept the dyads equality / inequality and freedom / authority as elements that would further clarify the meaning of left and right. Considering the terms before they converted into a metaphor of political language, the pair right-left had a connotation of univocal value originating from religious language, where the good are seated on the right side of the Father and the bad on the left. The identification of sacred and profane, of right meaning religion and left meaning atheism is also one of the connotations sometimes present in the discussion about this dichotomy. It comes as no surprise that Sartre was one of the first to call the concepts of right and left “empty boxes”. The definition of each of the terms of the dichotomy is contaminated by the identity and social purpose of anyone who enters into such discussion. In the same way, their connection to the sense of the sacred and the profane has in practice been unequivocally disqualified. This proceeds from egalitarianism of religious inspiration, which always had revolutionary moments, for instance from the theology of liberation, to the defenders of the right with an utterly secular vision of politics, such as the one present in Vilfredo Pareto. One goes without mentioning the extreme positions, of which Nietzsche is the model, which consider political egalitarianism, democracy and socialism as an effect of Christian preaching. We will consider, for methodological purposes that in political language the allocation of positive or negative values given to the right

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and left only has validity in what concerns the political action. So values and action are divorced in regard to their presumed contents.

Unknown Destination These judgements often reflect the main arguments revealing the confusion between abstract ideas and the commitments to which these ideas are linked in practice. As it is, there is no lack of definitions that renew the historical materials and redefine the contents of the dichotomy using appropriate historical examples. According to some authors (Gellner, 1995), the simplest definition of socialism that would agree with the observation of social reality, not casting value judgements, would be socialism as a form of managing an industrial society through the administrative command. As underlined by the author, whoever is in the habit of giving socialism a positive emotional meaning will resent this definition. Among those that will not renounce being left-wing, the interest for liberal thinking and its history re-emerged through the new understanding of texts like John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty. The fact that left-wing intellectuals have re-read and joined the discovery of Mill’s political liberalism, often through Feyerabend’s methodological liberalism – bringing light to the existing problem between philosophy of science and political philosophy – confirms that the left lacks an authentic “Copernican revolution”, excluding the search of a third way as Giddens argues (Giddens, 2000). Analogously, it is a paradox that one of the ideological products of modernity, fascism, has deliberately presented itself as an antiideological movement when forming itself (Bobbio, 1989). All things considered, the left is greatly divided regarding the nature of its ideals and its revolutionary action due to the duels between Marxists – between neo-Marxists and Freudian-Marxists or between the Frankfurt School and the non-Marxists. These can be used to better understand the permutations of the dichotomy. The same applies to the right. This way, as emphasized by Freund, the opposition between right and left is virtually nonexistent. This, it can be considered, is basically the ideological translation of a long fight between tradition and adventure (Freund, 1974). But if we look for the ending sense of these phenomena, what arises is the renewal of the dichotomy. The observation that journals like New Left or Keep Left do not have its right-wing opposite is denied by the appearance of a combative and ambitious nouvelle droite (Bénoist, 1981). According to Karl Mannheim’s definition, the use of two concepts is only possible if the subject disclaims conceiving them as a concrete historical

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aggregation and if they are only interpreted as circumstantial behaviours or intentions. There also exist those who consider those values as not important to realize what each person feels in what concerns the representation of right or left, as they consider the problem as possible of being analyzed essentially as a political party problem (Mair, 1998; Freire, 2006a; 2006b), even if there is a consensus that defends that there are three essential aspects to define the self characterization on right or left wings: party allegiance, social incorporation and values (Inglehart and Klingemann, 1976). Let us continue to explore the values and its ideological significance. Regardless of the content value that manifests for those who consider themselves from one side or the other, it is important to realise the following aspects: political empathy as a result of the extension of our societies, the phenomenon of the crisis of ideologies, the variability of value judgements’ criteria, the technical nature and the ever increasing complexity of political subjects, the pluralism and segmentation of social affiliation. These phenomena altogether transform each citizen into a potential transversal political subject in relation to the axial scheme of right/left. This potential should be taken into consideration when studying the subject of ideologies.

Safety on Board When examining the literature on the notion of ideology and the explanation of ideological phenomena, it is not hard to feel confused. Certainly, its definitions vary from author to author and the use of it to describe a wide range of phenomena is inevitable (Boudon, 1986). In the quest for the etymological meaning of ideology, it is important to take a detour to discuss the history of the word, created by Destutt de Tracy at the end of the XVIII century. For this author, ideology meant the science of the genesis of ideas that he would create. While forging the concept of ideology, Tracy intended to designate a subject which would have ideas as its object, like mineralogy studies minerals or geology studies the earth. As an extensive doctrine this would be characterized by neutrality and generality. Additionally, the discussion of ideology as a concept must also necessarily mention the works of Marx, Freud and Nietzsche, who Ricoeur called the “masters of suspicion” (Ricoeur, 1991). In reality, even Mannheim mentions that it was only Marx’s thought that allowed the discovery of the “core of the problem” of using ideological terminology

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(Ricoeur, 1991). Mannheim defines the authors just mentioned as the originators and developers of the sociology of knowledge (Mannheim, 1993). Mannheim also stresses the “enlightening intuitions” of Nietzsche, whose lines of development led to the theories of Freud and Pareto about original impulses, and the methods they created with the purpose of studying human thought as a deformation and as a product of instinctual mechanisms (Mannheim,1993). Marx's concept of ideology has been the dominant model in the West, and constitutes the model to which other thinkers have responded. Essentially Marx defined ideology as what is not real, as opposed to praxis – here the contrast is between ideology and reality, and not, as in postMarxist authors such as Althusser, between ideology and science. Marx’s concept of ideology questioned the autonomy given to the products of conscience. Ideology as imaginarium, a “reflex” or “echo” of real life’s process, transforms itself into distortion. In Ricoeur’s view, Marx’s concept of ideology as distortion lacks depth for it is defined as a superficial level, since what matters is not the choice between what is true and false, but a consideration of the relationship between representation and praxis. Distortion is a level within this model, not the model of ideology itself. Ricoeur contests Marx’s interpretation by positing that representation is such a basic device that it is enough to be understood as a facet of praxis. The conjugation of ideology and praxis will define the conceptions of both. Ricoeur argues that the structure of action is inextricably symbolic. Only at the base of this symbolic structure can one understand the nature of ideology as distortion, or the sense of ideology in general. A more recent interpretation that continues to consider ideology as distortion, in opposition not to reality but to science, lies in the postMarxism movement, more specifically in the structuralist Marxism of Louis Althusser. Ideology is described as non-scientific or pre-scientific, in a reality that works based on impersonal or anonymous forces. In the domain of the structural interrelationship of Marxist science, Althusser goes beyond this with the concept of “over determined”. The infrastructure has causal efficacy over the ideological superstructure since the superstructure responds to it. Ricoeur argues that Althusser combines under one-designation two different notions on the concept of anthropological ideology. In the first place there is “ideology of conscience”, which Marx and Freud question. Secondly there is the individual in its context, a notion that can be expressed in non-idealist terms. However, it is an interesting fact that

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Althusser does not assume the march of history as inevitably leadings to the supremacy of science. He claims, instead, that it is utopian to think that science will completely replace ideology. Unlike science, ideology has the capacity of giving sense to our lives. As such, Paul Ricoeur extensively comments on Althusser's positive evaluation of the role of ideology. The opposition between science and ideology reaches its zenith with Mannheim, who considers the expansion of the concept of ideology even involving those participating in it. According to Mannheim, the point of view of the absolute spectator, the one that is not involved in the social game, is impossible. Indeed, ideology's paradox stems from its circular nature, from which Mannheim tries to escape by stating the possibility of reaching an evaluative position through the complete understanding of the historic process. Mannheim is the first to put ideology and utopia under one conceptual structure, which describes them as unbalanced forms or advantage points in discrepancy with the present reality. This enhances their representation qualities. The substitution of the causal model that informs orthodox Marxism via the motivational model of Weber has allowed the discovery of another level of ideology, where ideology ceases to be a distortion and begins working as legitimacy. The question of legitimacy is inextricable from social life since there is no social order that works solely through force. The social order searches for some kind of affirmative sense from the ones it governs, and it is that sense that legitimises the power of the governor. Two factors are interlinked: the pretension of legitimacy through authority and the belief of legitimacy through order, accepted by the subjects. This dynamic can only be understood within a motivational structure, one which Weber clarified. Weber in his well known typology of authority did not give the same significance to pretence and belief. His main example is legal authority. In this sense he expresses a prejudice towards rationality. Weber examines charismatic and traditional types in relation to the legal and bureaucratic ones. Weber’s analysis manifests his expectations towards the nature of society’s rationality. Having Weber’s presuppositions as a starting point, Ricoeur says that the most significant aspect of the relationship between pretension and belief is the abyss between them. Ricoeur’s thesis states three elements on considering ideology for legitimacy purposes. The problem of ideology is due to the gap between beliefs and pretence – the fact that the beliefs of the dominated should contribute more than what is rationally guaranteed by the pretension of the governing authority. The function of ideology is to fill in that gap; the

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demand for ideology to fill the gap suggests the need for a better theory, one that relates to power. Here we exclude Habermas’ point which re-orientates praxis as a concept based on the relations of production and not on the forces of production, which means that praxis has an established institutional framework. By institutional framework Habermas understands “a structure of symbolic action” and “the role of cultural tradition”. Categorically, there is the possibility of a science that avoids the false opposition to ideology, through the distinction between instrumental sciences, historical, and hermeneutical, and social critique. This last one takes psychoanalysis as its model. The concept of psychoanalytical resistance will be the model for ideology, as the techniques used by psychoanalysis to beat resistance and reach self-awareness demonstrate the prototypical techniques used to reach a critique of ideology. However, ideology maintains its character of distortion and only critical sciences can systematically overcome distortion. It is with Clifford Geertz (Geertz, 1973) that we can find the highest level of analysis on ideology. Ideology comes as an element of integration. Ricoeur’s interest in the function of rhetorical discourses is clear, when he demonstrates that ideology can be usefully compared to them: the positive sense of rhetoric allies itself with the integrative sense of ideology, since ideology is the “rhetoric of basic communication”. Ricoeur and Geertz meet by having a similar position concerning the symbolic structure of action. Every social action is conceived as already symbolically mediated and it is up to ideology to play the part of mediator of the social domain. Ideology is integration and not distortion. Only by having the integrative function of ideology as its base can the other functions, such as legitimacy and discourse, flourish. Ideology as mediation is a constitutive part of social existence. In this sense, ideology is always an irrepressible phenomenon and objectivity, as an advantage stemming from participation’s dialectics, is the prerequisite for the possibility of a critique of ideologies inside hermeneutics.

Seatbelts on The ideology implied in the general system of values, and in the light of the value system where it is self-legitimated, is endowed with dynamic capacities. It contains, namely, the capacity of critical judgment concerning our own value system and its institutional design. When, as in current societies, a unified economic system – political democracy – forces, through education and urbanization, a frequent contact between the many sectors of the population, a mutual consciousness is

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created (perhaps even greater than at any other time) that nonetheless bears and even increases the range and possibility of concerted rejection of the central system of values. Those participating in the central system of values also feel their outer position – the distance from the centre – with greater intensity than their predecessors would probably have felt. Thus, though the mass society may become more prone to consensus there may similarly be a strongly negative link with the symbols of the central system of values, the very same around which people organize an opposition to the institutional system and central values. As Shills (Shills, 1991) demonstrated, it can be said that the sources of disorder are imperfect connections of the central system of values. The integration through authority does not exhaust all possibilities, for successes and failures are linked to the cultural sphere, which is the realm of belief, and the cognitive image of society. And, according to Einsenstadt, the possibility of the emergence of new movements and orientations of protest in new societies has a potential that unraveled through generational conflict, of intellectual contradiction and demystification of the world (Einsenstadt, 1991). Thus, on the one hand, much broader participation in the central system of values, through the educational and institutional apparatuses and through political and communicative rights, allows the mass of the population to have a dominant values system of their own. It becomes a part of civil society, with a sense of moral responsibility on the compliance of rules and the sharing of authority. On the other hand, political apathy, frivolity, vulgarity, irrationality and sensitivity to demagogy accompany this phenomenon. So the re-emergence of nationalism is an important aspect of this incorporation process of the mass of the population in the central system of values in the institutional design (Di Palma, 1970). In this logic, it is especially around the middle classes that the direction of our society’s evolution is established but it is done through a mystification that tends to make them to wrongly believe in their own power. Insofar as, on the other hand, the dissent towards the centre relates to a number of particular issues, the consensual statement of the core loses its ability to control dissidents. Yet, it is in the exchange between elites that the structures of intergroup beliefs become particularly important to the order and disorder of a society. In the vast majority of groups, beliefs are less salient in the lower ranks than from the perspective of the elites. When dissenting beliefs manifest themselves in relation to components

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of culture, they provide a focus and a model for those who suffer from the distributions of income, status and power. Indeed, these oppositions do not alienate them, but when integrated in left and right discourses they become part of a systemic order. An extensive and integrated society will tend to have individuals and groups who reject the beliefs that animate the dominant consensus, and these beliefs tend to become more systematic and coherent in relation to the more general beliefs. The emergence of the modern neo-liberal state with its plurality of religious bodies, various political parties, separation of powers and with institutions of guidance and control of class conflicts or other partial conflicts, reduced the number of requirements for peace in a polity. Nonetheless, technical progress has not put an end to the struggle for the fair distribution of revenue as Aron already underlined. The essence of democracy, combined with the industrialized civilization, develops a state of agitation. An enlargement and expansion of the society and of its core values to the masses differentiates the forms of conflict that tend to be confined to the borders of partial dissent within a framework of limited consensus. Alongside these deliberate efforts to change the structure of consensus, there is a continuous process of border redefinition. These changes have in turn resulted from the efforts of the advocates of dissenting beliefs, partly on demographic and technological change, and in the development of the dynamic potential of various patterns of beliefs. The facts of today's disputes allow explanatory and systematic comparisons with the abundant produced literature by political scientists (Inglehart, 1990; Dalton, 2006) as a result of the effort for understanding the right and left dichotomy (Sarmento, 2008). Besides the crucial role of ideological integration concerning left and right through history, what is new seems to be the idea of a new political culture corresponding to the introduction of a new political style (Clark and Hoffmann-Martinot, 1998). More than revisiting the right and left dichotomy, we intended to understand its implications and relevance on the structure of the political system – but to what extent should we assume that the new cultural paradigm (Clark and Hoffman-Martinot, 1998) replaced right and left dichotomy? In other words, it might be the case that postmaterialistic political values and attitudes (Inglehart, 1990) put aside traditional divides? Revisiting the right and left dichotomy also implies a certain consideration to contemporary political attitudes and behaviors, despite the almost linear propensity towards postmaterialistic value-orientation. As

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suggested by Inglehart, right and left wings have integrated postmaterialistic discourse, so far as political, economic, and cultural values became vulnerable to become part of the political action. The growing interest in the debate on cultural paradigm and a new political culture resulted in the development of analytical and sophisticated conceptual instruments, seeking to study the interaction between concepts and empirical reality, notoriously engaged in explaining the variation of accommodation and adaptation strategies of behaviors. However is this argument strong enough to explain the prevalence of the right and left dichotomy?

Clear Skies We finish with the assumption that this world of globalisation accentuates the nature of politics as a function of the economy and therefore reverses the classical concepts. Let's say that in this new scale all are competitors – enemies to Schmitt – from an economic point of view, but, to adjust to this, everyone has to be a friend from a political point of view. In this passage it has simultaneously lost both the catalytic and separating forces of politics. The cultural root of this transformation lies in the assertion of an area of individual freedom that is greatly influenced by the movement for individualised and decentralised use of technology. The cultural openness towards technological experimentation and symbolic manipulation constitutes a whole new world of imaginary representations that goes beyond right and left wings. This is the cultural dichotomy that merited our reflection. It is neither possible nor prudent to seize the inquiry that led to it immediately. However, the complexity seen as a challenge to the analysis, stimulates “cross-border land tours”. It matters to investigate how this right and left opposition is a source to the emergence of a new political structure that undermines the legitimising force of political activity, changing the status of power and counter forces that pressure it. Even though starting with left and right wings, the political science approach means giving you the wings – the analytical political instruments to think freely.

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References Aron, Raymond (1957), L’Opium des Intellectuels, Paris: Calmann-Lévy. —. (1965), Fin des Idéologies, Renaissance des Idées, Paris: Gallimard. Bell, Daniel (1988), The End of the Ideology, Cambridge: Harvard University. Bobbio, Norberto (1988), O Futuro da Democracia, Lisboa: Publ. D. Quixote. —. (1989), O Perfil Ideológico del Siglo XX en ItaliaI, México: Fondo de Cultura Económica. —. (1995 [1994]), Direita e Esquerda. Razões e Significados de uma Distinção Política, Lisboa: Presença. Boudon, Raymond (1986), L’Idéologie où L’Origine des Idées Reçues, Paris: Fayard. Clark, Terry Nichols, and Hoffmann-Martinot, Vincent (eds.) (1998), The New Political Culture, Chicago: Westview Press. Confrancesco, D. (1981), Destra e Sinistra, Genova: Presso il Basilisco. Dalton, Russel J. (2006), “Social modernization and the end of ideology debate: patterns of ideological polarization”, Japanese Journal of Political Science, 7 (1), 1-22. Eatwell, Roger and Wright, Anthony (eds.) (2003[1999]), Contemporary Political Ideologies, London: Continuum. Einsenstadt, Shamuel Noah (1971), “Generational Conflict and Intellectual Antinomianism”, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, 395. —. (1996), Modernization Protest and Change, Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall. Feyerabend, Paul (1993), Contra o Método, Lisboa: Relógio D’Água. Freire, André (2006a), “Bringing Social Identities Back In: The Social Anchors of Left-Right Orientation in Western Europe”, International Political Science Review, 27 (4), 359-378. —. (2006b), “Left-Right Ideological Identities in New Democracies: Greece, Portugal and Spain in the Western European Context”, Pôle Sud – Revue de Science Politique de l’Europe Méridionale, Nº 25, II, 153-173. Freund, Julien (1974), O Que é a Política?, Lisboa: Ed. Futura. Galbraith, John K. (1961), L’Ère d’Opulence, Paris: Calmann-Lévy. Gellner, Ernest (1995), Condições da Liberdade, Lisboa: Gradiva. Giddens, Anthony (2000), The Third Wave and its Critics, Cambridge: Polity Press.

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Geertz, Clifford (1973), “Ideology as a Cultural System”, The Interpretation of Cultures, New York: Basic Books. Inglehart, Ronald (1990), “Values, ideology and cognitive mobilization in new social movements”, in Dalton, Russel J. and Kuechler, Manfred (eds.) Challenging the Political Order: New Social and Political Movements in Western Democracies, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 43-66. Inglehart, Ronald and Klingemann, Hans-Dieter (1976), “Party identification, ideological preference and the left-right dimension among western mass societies”, in Budge, I. et al, Party Identification and Beyond: Representations of Voting and Party Competition, London: John Wiley & Sons. Knutsen, Oddbjørn (1995), “Value orientations, political conflicts and leftright identification: a comparative study”, European Journal of Political Research, 28, 63-93. Laponce, J.A. (1981), Left and Right: The Topography of Political Perceptions, Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Lipset, Seymour Martin (1960), Political Man. The Social Basis of Politics, New York: Garden City. Mair, Peter (1998), Party System Change: Approaches and Interpretations, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Mannheim, Karl (1993), Ideologia y Utopia, Introducción a la Sociologia del Conocimiento, Mexico: Fundo de Cultura Económica. Ricoeur, Paul (1976), Teoria da Interpretação. O Discurso e o Excesso da Significação, Lisboa: Edições 70. —. (1991), Ideologia e Utopia, Lisboa: Edições 70. Sarmento, Cristina Montalvão (2008), Os Guardiões dos Sonhos, Lisboa: Colibri. Shills, Edward (1991), Centro e Periferia, Lisboa: Edifel.

MORAL RELATIVISM: RIGHT OR LEFT? SIMON SKEMPTON*

Introduction The philosophical term “moral relativism” has long since crept out of the academy and found its place in the lexicon of public political debate. A term denoting the absence of any absolute standard for judging between what ought to be and what ought not to be has been adopted by many right-wing commentators to critically characterize the left. Social conservatives pin the blame for the loss of values in today’s society on the influence of “left-liberal” tolerance and multiculturalism. Certain strands of the left respond by accusing the right of “cultural imperialism”, of falsely universalizing Western values and wishing to impose them on other peoples. These mutual accusations play a large part in current portrayals of the left-right dichotomy. The aim here is to demonstrate that, contrary to these fashionable caricatures, moral relativism can be most suitably designated as definitively right-wing and moral universalism as definitively left-wing. The terms right-wing and left-wing originated in the seating arrangements of the French National Assembly in 1789, where those sitting on the left supported revolutionary change informed by the universalism of the Enlightenment and those sitting on the right supported the conservation of the traditional social order. It may superficially appear that the terms have since undergone a reversal of meaning, with elements of the left claiming to oppose Enlightenment universalism and elements of the right claiming to believe in the universality of Western values. However, a symptomatic analysis of these claims can reveal that the original left-right schema remains operative beneath a surface of rhetorical refractions and distortions. Social conservatives still regard their values as stemming from the traditions of particular countries, not from universal principles, and the

 *

Lecturer at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics.

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purported multiculturalism of elements of the left is really an expression of certain values that are meant to transcend any particular culture. Multiculturalism is a universalism that is unaware that it is a universalism; a universalism in denial.

Confusing the Normative and the Meta-Ethical The lexical imprecision and conceptual confusion surrounding moral relativism are partly the product of its emergence as something of a buzzword in the political punditry of the mass media. Public figures ranging from Fox News television presenters to the Pope himself have employed it as a term of abuse to be hurled in the direction of those who are perceived to be the purveyors of a licentious social liberalism. Newspaper columnists and populist politicians alike decry the relativism-fueled tolerance that takes the form of a refusal to morally condemn practices that conflict with traditional Western values. For example, Melanie Phillips, a columnist for the socially conservative Daily Mail newspaper, regularly rails against a moral relativism that she seems to equate with a general suspension of moral judgement. After the riots in British cities in August 2011, Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron declared that the riots were caused by moral failings and thus that the appropriate response from the government should not be one that involved moral neutrality. He said, “this moral neutrality, this relativism – it’s not going to cut it anymore”. It is clear that many right-wingers regard the term ‘moral relativism’ as being synonymous with moral neutrality. The mistake here is to regard moral relativism as itself a moral position. The term is being used by media commentators and politicians to refer to the view that as traditional norms have no absolute or objective basis we should not condemn deviations from them. The use of the word “should” here indicates that a moral or normative position, that of a tolerant non-condemnation, is being derived from the belief that morality lacks an absolute basis. Those labeled “moral relativists” are supposedly espousing a “normative moral relativism”, the belief that we should tolerate values different to our own, which is based on a “meta-ethical moral relativism”, the belief that the only justificatory basis of morality lies within particular cultural traditions, not in absolute or universal principles that lie beyond them. However, “normative moral relativism” is a misnomer and an incoherent concept. A universal principle of tolerance cannot be derived from a belief in the absence of universal principles. Moral relativism is essentially a meta-ethical concept, a theoretical response to the question of how morals can be justified. It is the belief that

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there is no absolute or universal basis for moral values or norms; they are merely derived from and relative to the particular traditions and cultures in which they are found. It could be countered that there is such a thing as a “descriptive moral relativism” that is not meta-ethical. This is the belief that, as a matter of empirical fact, there are no moral values or norms that are shared by all societies and cultures. However, as soon as this belief is used to support or justify any morally relevant judgement or action it ceases to be merely descriptive and becomes a meta-ethical position. The only coherent form of moral relativism that is relevant to any political or moral discussion about what ought to be done is the meta-ethical one.

Conservatism There is nothing in meta-ethical moral relativism to suggest that moral judgements should be suspended. Moral judgements can still be made on the understanding that their content is entirely the product of tradition and is not justifiable with reference to universal criteria that go beyond all traditions. The idea that morality has its basis in traditional norms and values sounds strangely similar to the doctrines held by social conservatives. Indeed, it would be reasonable to maintain that moral relativism constitutes the very meta-ethical foundation of conservatism itself. It is telling that conservative commentators often explicitly base their own positions on geographically relative terms, like “British values” or “Western values”, even when accusing others of moral relativism. The contents of any particular form of conservatism are entirely relative to the historical situation at hand. Conservatives rarely want to go back to what conservatives in earlier periods of history campaigned to retain, such as racial segregation or not allowing women to vote. The contents of conservatism are thus historically and culturally relative. Social conservatives tend to support their moral beliefs with reference to either tradition or nature. What these two seemingly disparate notions have in common is that they both refer to the given, to the facts at hand. If morality rests on the given, on whatever merely happens to be the case, then its basis requires no justification or legitimation. The eighteenthcentury philosopher David Hume recognized the dangers of such a position when he claimed that it is a mistake to derive an “ought” from an “is”, to equate what should be the case with what actually is the case (Hume, 1978: 469). Ironically, Hume himself not only failed to develop this insight further, he actually betrayed it by developing a theory of morality based entirely on the sentiments that he regarded as naturally occurring in humans. For Hume, there can be no rational basis of either

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knowledge or morality, the former being an illusory manifestation of what in reality are nothing other than habitual and customary ways of thinking, the latter being merely a description of some of the emotions that nature has given us. It is perhaps not a coincidence that Hume’s sceptical antirationalism, his belief that it is impossible to transcend social conventions and reflexive emotional reactions, went hand in hand with a political conservatism that did not wish to disturb the given social fabric. An emphasis on the importance of adherence to tradition for the maintenance of a healthy social fabric is explicitly pitched against the universalist ideals of the French Revolution in the writings of Hume’s near-contemporary Edmund Burke. It is for this reason that Burke is often considered to be the founder of social conservatism. In his book Reflections on the Revolution in France, Burke argues that attachment to the bonds of national tradition rather than abstract universal rights conforms to human nature and secures social harmony. He claims that “the rights of Englishmen… as a patrimony derived from their forefathers” provides a more secure moral and social foundation than the “abstract principles” of “the rights of men” (Burke, 1987: 28). For Burke, it is simply “natural” to venerate those who are higher in the established social order. He even advocates “prejudice”, describing it as “the general bank and capital of nations” which can enable people to be virtuous without thinking (Burke, 1987: 76). The rejection of universality and the defense of national and traditional prejudice demonstrate that Burkean social conservatism rests on a moral relativist meta-ethical basis.

Exclusivism The emphasis on the value of prejudice stemming from particular national traditions unites social conservatism with certain forms of nationalism. The nationalism that is of concern here is not the idea that one nation should be opposed to being ruled by another, an idea grounded in the universal principle of the right of nations to self-determination. It is the belief that the nation or the fatherland is of paramount value and that it should assert itself against internal and external threats to its identity. Universality is the abstract form of the threat to this sense of identity from cosmopolitan contaminations. The most well-known cases of such ultranationalism are the fascism and Nazism of the early twentieth century. Here there is no pretense of the legal justification of power with reference to any external or transcendent principle; there is just the willful selfassertion of the nation, the state, and its leader. Mussolini himself recognized that fascism has a relativist basis when he said: “If relativism

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signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be the bearers of an objective immortal truth, then there is nothing more relativistic than fascism” (Mussolini, cited in Cook, 1999: 17). This is a normative derivation from meta-ethical relativism that is somewhat different to the notion of multicultural tolerance. Mussolini thought of himself as putting into practice the relativist philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. What Nietzsche calls “perspectivism”, the denial of all absolute truths, leads to his view that values are relative to and the expression of a particular will to power, the demand for their universal justification and validity being merely a decadent self-destructive stifling of this will. The relativist idea that there are no rational grounds to justify any political ideology lies behind forms of conservatism and nationalism that regard values and rights as applying to particular groups and not to everyone. This intrinsic particularism means that such political positions are limited in their global reach. While pragmatic trans-national alliances between those who share conservative or nationalist ideologies often occur, they are ultimately restricted as there is nothing in the ideology that allows for a reconciliation of all humanity. Conservatives in Texas and conservatives in Saudi Arabia are not going to see eye to eye. Russian nationalists hate Poles; Polish nationalists hate Russians. After all, there can be no international brotherhood of xenophobes. The idea that adopting a political position and identifying oneself with a particular national ideal cannot coherently involve an aspiration towards the reconciliation of all humanity, that it always presupposes an excluded antithetical enemy, was explicitly put forward in the 1920s by the German political philosopher and jurist Carl Schmitt. For him, true politics involves making a decision and taking a position against an enemy, a pure decision that is not grounded in any rational universal principle which would potentially enable an ultimate reconciliation with all enemies. A national community is constituted through the exclusion of its nonmembers. The purpose of the state is to defend the purity of this identity from the threat of contamination by otherness, not to embody and enforce the rights of all. Echoing Burke’s “rights of Englishmen”, Schmitt wrote in a pamphlet: “All right is the right of a particular Volk” (Schmitt, cited in Posner, 2002: 89). Schmitt believed that his moral relativist political theory was realized in the ideology and political practice of the Nazis, with their groundless extra-legal executive decisions and their anti-universalist assertion of a particular group against those designated to be definitively enemies. The idea of the maintenance of the cohesion of a community and its identifying traditions through the bestowal of enemy status onto certain

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groups of people seamlessly unites Schmitt’s conservatism with his embrace of ultra-nationalism. It may seem strange then that a thinker who was largely forgotten for many decades has undergone a remarkable revival of interest over the last twenty years amongst academic leftwingers, such as Chantal Mouffe (2005: 117-134). There are two identifiable reasons for this. One is Schmitt’s emphasis on the inescapability and irreducibility of the political, the political as that which cannot be universalized, which always involves setting up an adversary, which demands the taking of a position as opposed to a neutral apolitical disengagement, and which contrasts with more typically conservative pseudo-apolitical references to nature and common sense. The other reason is the influence of certain forms of epistemological and historical relativism, under the banner of postmodernism, which have involved an understanding of twentieth century totalitarianism as being the culmination of the rationalist totalizing universalism of the Enlightenment, an understanding which enables Schmitt’s anti-rationalist relativism to be seen as anti-totalitarian despite his own personal commitments. This account of the intellectual origins of totalitarianism is flawed, because it relies on the assumption that there is a real connection between ambitious “totalizing” theories which aim to amplify their explanatory reach and a totalitarian political stance. In fact, the relationship between totalization in thought and totalitarianism in politics is not one of logical entailment, but is merely a devious lexical slippage. The rational universalism of the Enlightenment was not appreciated by the advocates of fascism and, in the words of Slavoj Žižek, “the philosophy that legitimizes a totalitarian regime is generally some kind of evolutionary or vitalist relativism” (Žižek, 1996: 5). A universal totality is a very different kind of thing to the restricted totality of a closed identity. As Hegel’s philosophy could be seen as the ultimate example of a universalistic rational totalization, it is perhaps instructive that Schmitt celebrated Hitler’s accession to power as the day that “Hegel died” (Schmitt, 2002: 35). Returning to the first reason for Schmitt’s resurrection by the academic left, his notion of the irreducibility of the political accords with the leftwing urge to politicize what conservative ideology usually masks or naturalizes. Indeed, similarities can be discerned between Schmitt’s conception of the political and that of Lenin. Lenin also held that taking a partisan position is unavoidable and that there is no transcendent impartiality through which disputes could be arbitrated, the difference here being that the relevant enemy is not a national or ethnic adversary, but a class one. The Soviet Union’s obsession with “enemies of the people” gave it a thoroughly Schmittian aspect. What appears to be Lenin’s moral

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relativism stems from an interpretation of Marx in which morality is nothing more than a refracted manifestation in the ideological superstructure of certain aspects of the socio-economic infrastructure, of the social relations of production. According to this interpretation, morality is socially relative, relative to particular class interests, and historically relative, relative to the mode of production in place at a particular time. However, unlike the neo-Schmittian academic left of today who believe in the irreducibility of political antagonism, Marxism of any interpretation involves the belief in the eventual reconciliation of all humanity in a just society. The proletariat is the “universal class” whose victory will lead to the eventual abolition of all class distinctions. This is an eschatological chink in the relativist edifice that is absent from rightwing ideologies.

Transcendent Arbitrariness: the Religious Right Redemptive eschatology and universalism are features of Christianity, yet more often than not religion is associated with the right of the political spectrum. This may be due to religions usually being embroiled in the traditions of particular cultures, but the major religions seem to make universal moral claims. The Catholic Church is, of course, the “universal church”. However, this does not significantly trouble the argument that right-wing ideologies are morally relativistic. Religion is by no means inherently right-wing. From radical protestant reformers like Thomas Müntzer to Latin American liberation theologians, Christians have often been on the side of revolutionaries struggling for equality. It is religious fundamentalism that is both right-wing and morally relativistic. This is because fundamentalists believe that something is right because it is written in a holy book, not that something is written in the holy book because it is right. This dichotomy is a version of the dilemma formulated by Socrates in Plato’s “Euthyphro” dialogue: “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?” (Plato, 1997: 9). The fundamentalist position here is a case of moral relativism, because the view that God’s will is in no need of further justification effectively means that what is right is relative to the willful whim of a particular being and that there are no more grounds for following this than there would be for following the whim of any other particular being, except for the mere fact that the particular being in question is very powerful. Fundamentalism can be defined as a normative moral absolutism resting on a meta-ethical moral relativism, which is to say that the normative “everyone must follow these rules” rests on the

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meta-ethical “for no other reason than that this powerful individual says so”. Of course, there are many whose religious beliefs do not fall on the moral relativist side of the Euthyphro dilemma, but who nevertheless adhere to some form of political conservatism. However, the conservatism is based on merely traditional values whereas their eschatological universalism is, unlike that of the Marxists, reserved for the after-life, a relativism of this world and an absolutism of the next world. A similar compartmentalization can be seen in the coexistence of an adherence to moral absolutes at the personal level and a cynical realism at the political level. Unlike the left, who often conflate morality and politics, such as with the feminist motto “the personal is political”, the right tends to rigorously separate them. The socio-political realism that ensues from this separation is encapsulated by Adam Smith’s notion of the “invisible hand”, the idea that the best way to achieve the common good is to avoid, at the political level, putting into practice moral principles whose aim is to achieve the common good. This compartmentalization and separation of morality from politics is informed by the idea that any attempt to improve society by means of political control and intervention, however well-intended, inevitably leads to unintended undesirable consequences, whether they take the form of economic decline or political tyranny. The conservative political philosopher Eric Voegelin argues that political attempts to create an ideal society have evil consequences, because such attempts are manifestations of the epistemological and gnoseological arrogance and hubris of humanity. This arrogance is essentially the idea that human knowledge is ultimately capable of working out the means of creating heaven on earth, an idea that Voegelin refers to as “Gnosticism”. For Voegelin, modern ideologies that ultimately aim to achieve an earthly paradise are guilty of “immanentizing” eschatology, the moral dangers of which lie in its denial of transcendence, the denial of any authority above and beyond humanity (Voegelin, 1987: 163). The ultimate fulfillment of human spiritual aims lies exclusively in the transcendent heavenly realm and it is a grave mistake to try to bring about such fulfillment in the secular political world. This viewpoint echoes a certain line of thinking within the Christian tradition that advocates a rigorous separation between the spiritual and the secular worlds, a line that includes Augustine’s distinction between the heavenly city and the earthly city and Luther’s doctrine of the two kingdoms, an idea that ultimately stems from a particular interpretation of Jesus’s statement, “Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and unto God what belongs to God” (Matthew 22:21).

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Voegelin’s political conservatism is based on the recognition of the importance of avoiding the implementation of moral absolutes in political practice. This is because for him the ideal of how things ought to be is not amenable to human knowledge; any claims to such knowledge are false and are to be dismissed with the pejorative term “Gnosticism”. These claims are false and dangerous, because through them humans are presuming to accede to what is the rightful preserve of God. What this means is that moral absolutes should not inform human socio-political aspirations, because these absolutes are transcendent with regard to human knowledge. If they are transcendent in this manner then such absolutes can only appear in this world, in the realm of immanence, in the form of the arbitrary dictates of a God understood as mere authority. In this way Voegelin falls on the moral relativist side of the Euthyphro dilemma.

The Libertarian Market The need to avoid the unintended consequences of political intervention is also a key characteristic of the more secular-minded proponents of laissez-faire economic liberalism, the so-called right-wing libertarians. Out of Smith’s notion of the “invisible hand” of the free market through which the common good is furthered by the self-interested behaviour of individuals in interaction, Friedrich Hayek develops a social theory of a “spontaneous order” (Hayek, 1967: 163) that can best occur when the state restricts itself to providing nothing more than the conditions necessary for a free market to function. A social system based on the autonomous and self-regulatory functioning of market forces would amount to, in the words of Hayek, “a society which does not depend for its functioning on our finding good men for running it” (Hayek, 1948: 11-12). The “spontaneous order” of a free society is thus not a product of the implementation of ideals, values, or principles; it is “the result of human action but not of human design” (Hayek, 1967: 96). Humans cannot be trusted to make the right decisions. For Hayek, it is better to rely on the market system than on human design, because of the fallibility of human knowledge. This epistemological modesty leads to the meta-ethical modesty of moral relativism, which Hayek explicitly endorses (Hayek, 1976: 25). However, not all right-libertarians would agree that their position involves the separation of politics from moral absolutes. Robert Nozick bases his libertarian political philosophy on what he regards as Kantian meta-ethical principles (Nozick, 1999: 30-33). Here the veneration of individual free choice in a free market society free from state interference is advocated not on the basis of its positive consequences, of its promotion

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of the common good, but because it is morally right in principle. The function of the minimal state is to uphold the liberty of each person, protecting them from coercive violations of their liberty, not to engage in such violations itself. An example Nozick gives of the state violating the liberty of the individual is the use of taxation to redistribute wealth through the funding of welfare programmes. The segment of the worker’s labour that creates the wealth that is taken away as tax is effectively forced labour (Nozick, 1999: 169-172). For Nozick, coercion of this kind is morally wrong, because it violates the Kantian principle that people must be treated as ends-in-themselves and not utilized as mere means to other ends. It may appear that the case of Nozick would seriously undermine any hypothesis regarding the morally relativistic nature of right-wing ideologies. However, Nozick’s position relies on a thoroughgoing restriction and distortion of the very Kantian principle that he himself invokes, such that it ceases to be recognizable as a meta-ethical principle at all. The principle in question is Kant’s second formulation of the categorical imperative: “So act as to treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, in every case at the same time as an end, never as a means only” (Kant, 2005: 88). Nozick interprets this to mean that each person is a “selfowner”, not to be owned or used by anyone else. This entails that a person has the right to do what she wants and to dispose of her legitimately gained property as she wishes, free from external coercion, as long as her actions do not violate the self-ownership and property rights of others. Property is legitimately gained through “acquisition” of that which was previously not owned by others, by means of labour or discovery, or through voluntary “transfer”, by means of trade or gift-giving rituals such as inheritance (Nozick, 1999: 150-153). The status quo of the wealth distribution in a particular society is then ultimately legitimated by the categorical imperative as Nozick understands it, so long as that status quo results historically from legitimate property transactions. However, Nozick’s use of a form of the categorical imperative to legitimate a hierarchical socio-economic system containing huge wealth and opportunity gaps, gaps largely the product of privilege and inheritance, restricts its range of applicability to such an extent that it ceases to be a categorical imperative at all, and effectively becomes a hypothetical imperative. Of course, in Kantian terms a restricted hypothetical imperative is not a moral one. An example of such an imperative in this case could take the form of a conditional statement such as, “Do not treat a person as a means to an end unless they voluntarily present themselves as such under pressure of circumstance”. According to Nozick, when the state accrues tax revenue

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from part of a person’s work it is effectively forcing the person to engage in unpaid labour and is thus treating that person as a means and not an end, but when an employer accrues surplus value from someone’s labour this employee is not having her self-ownership compromised simply because she, in a formal sense, voluntarily entered into the contract, even if she had no real choice due to her economic circumstances. Constraints that unjustifiably hamper a person’s liberty are only recognized by Nozick if they are narrowly legalistic, which is why he cannot recognize the way in which economic circumstances can seriously constrain a person’s autonomy, circumstances that are the product of a system which is created by people and which are thus morally relevant. Nozick’s attempt to derive a defense of libertarian capitalism from the moral absolute of the categorical imperative is ultimately untenable. Laissez-faire capitalism is sometimes defended in meritocratic terms and thus in universally principled terms of fair reward for people who deserve it. This is expressed most clearly in Ludwig von Mises phrase, “Under capitalism everybody is the architect of his own fortune” (Mises, 1944: 100). In this ideology that states that the rich are rich because they are talented and hard-working and the poor are poor because they are feckless and lazy a universal egalitarian level playing field is assumed. The ideology is inconsistent, because the myth of an existent meritocracy is used to support the maintenance of a social hierarchy formed by inherited wealth. Any ideology that consistently aimed to create a substantive level playing field in the first place would be unlikely to be thought of as right-wing, even if that level playing field took the form of a market system.

Pseudo-Universalism Right-wing political realism which separates moral absolutes from the political domain contrasts with the seeming idealism of the tendency on the right that has come to be known as neo-conservatism. The latter is generally associated with the belief in a strident assertion of the universality and superiority of Western political and economic values, largely in the area of foreign policy. While neo-conservatives claimed to support American military interventionism in places like Iraq on the grounds that it would promote democracy and universal human rights, the left saw it as imperialism, the expropriation of the wealth of another country to serve particular interests. Many political commentators and journalists have associated neoconservatism with the influence of the philosopher Leo Strauss. This

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association is based largely on the fact that a number of neo-conservatives, including some who were involved in the Bush administration, were once taught by Strauss or by his students. However tenuous his connection to neo-conservatism is, it is certainly the case that Strauss was a highly influential conservative political philosopher. It is also the case that he criticized liberalism for encouraging what he called “relativism”, something that he thought led to nihilism. He uses the term ‘relativism’ in the normative sense, as he conflates it with the notion of tolerance (Strauss, 1965: 6). While he may be opposed to normative relativism, Strauss is himself a relativist at the meta-ethical level. He argues that morality comes from the arbitrariness of religious revelation rather than from rational deliberation, because being is fundamentally unintelligible and reason cannot ultimately justify itself (Strauss, 1965: 106-107). Despite attacking historicism for its relativistic encouragement of nihilism, he claims that “all natural right is changeable” (Strauss, 1965:157-159). In his essay entitled “Relativism”, he criticizes liberals such as Isaiah Berlin for what he considers to be their relativism, but the reason behind his criticism is that the liberals elevate tolerance to an absolute principle and that such tolerance stops people from believing in any principles (Strauss, 1989: 15). Later in the same essay the dismissive tone gives way to an approving one when Strauss discusses Nietzsche’s relativism. Nietzsche is party to “a truth that is deadly”, the relativity and lack of “objective validity of any principles of thought and action”, but, unlike that of the liberals, his philosophy is an attempt to circumvent the nihilism that this insight engenders (Strauss, 1989: 25). While in the “Relativism” essay Strauss makes reference to Nietzsche’s notion of a revaluation of all values which is a life-affirming creative act that avoids nihilism, in general what Strauss takes from Nietzsche is his elitism and exclusivism. In his book Natural Right and History Strauss suggests that the latter provides Nietzsche with an alternative means of averting nihilism to mere lifeaffirmation. This alternative would be to write the relativistic “theoretical analysis of life” in an “esoteric” manner, such that only an exclusive elite would be exposed to the “deadly truth” (Strauss, 1965: 26). Strauss is really talking about himself rather than Nietzsche here and the ‘esoteric’ is a recurrent theme throughout his writings. The disjuncture between metaethical relativism and normative absolutism takes the form of the distinction between the esoteric and the exoteric in Strauss’s work. For Strauss, writers who come to relativistic conclusions through philosophical reasoning should communicate these insights in an indirect and coded way, so that the “deadly truth” is only accessible to the elite few who are strong enough to deal with it. Such writers should, in the same texts,

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communicate in an explicit exoteric way a different message for the mediocre masses, so that the masses can be protected from the nihilistic implications of the “deadly truth” of relativism. The message to be exoterically conveyed is that the norms and values of the society that people live in are absolute and unchanging. Strauss identifies this duplicity with Plato’s notion of the “noble lie” that is necessary for social cohesion. Strauss’s Nietzschean noble lie is a reversal of Plato’s, in that the Platonic lie involves hiding the truth of human equality and universality behind a racial myth in order to encourage people to accept the roles assigned to them in the ideal state, whereas the Straussian lie involves hiding the truth of relativity and contingency behind the myth of the universal applicability of a particular culture’s norms and values.

Universalism in Denial As with Strauss’s critique of liberal tolerance, the contemporary rightwing characterization of the left as being in thrall to a morally vacant relativism is based on the idea that the promotion of tolerance and diversity leads to a nihilistic non-commitment to any values. The left in question here is not the traditional left that aims to achieve socio-economic justice, but the “postmodern” left associated with so-called “identity politics” and multiculturalist pluralism. This tendency draws much of its inspiration from Michel Foucault, who argues that universal principles and the idea of a universal human nature should not be affirmative reference points for a genuinely emancipatory politics, because they inevitably bear within themselves particular structures of repression and exclusion. As universalism is considered to be only ever an imperialistic product of the culture that produced it, relativism is employed to enable emancipatory theory to avoid surreptitiously and unintentionally reproducing some of the subtle forms of domination embedded in the social formation it is submitting to critique. What we have here is a critical relativism enlisted to strengthen and deepen the critique of given power structures – a leftrelativism. This kind of relativism informs the “radical democratic” political theory of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, who argue that the aim of politics should not be to achieve a universalist consensus, as this would always ultimately exclude and silence groups and individuals whose demands and needs were not even envisaged by any particular determinate emancipatory theory. In order to avoid this danger, antagonism and dissensus should be regarded as irreducible. The traditional left-wing emphasis on class-based politics meant that the needs of people identified

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and oppressed in terms of gender, race, and sexuality were ignored and marginalized. No political practice, whatever its intentions, can anticipate all the forms of exclusion and suppression that may arise, so a democratic space open to dissensus is always needed. For Laclau, there can be no definitive idea of the “good” that is not open to the “possibility of challenge” (Laclau, 1996: 100). However, this “postmodern” tendency is only identifiably left-wing because of its protest against given hierarchies and exclusionary discriminations. Its supposed relativism is really just a radicalization of emancipatory egalitarianism, one that promotes resistance to the repressive and exclusionary power structures that lie at the heart of the very constitution of identities. It appears to be relativistic, because it resists the homogenizing and imperialistic strictures of merely traditional values that are falsely presented as universally applicable. It is not relativistic, because its resistance involves an implicit appeal to freedom and equality as universal values. It is assumed that discriminations and repressions should be resisted on principle rather than accepted as constitutive and enabling features of social cohesion. Foucault at one point goes so far as to admit that his concern with “the undefined work of freedom” concurs with Kant’s notion of “enlightenment” as the maturity of self-determination and autonomy (Foucault, 2007: 110-114). Whether left-wing political philosophies think they are relativistic or not, they are all marked by a demand for both equality and a liberty that is predicated on there being equality. This is what Étienne Balibar calls “equaliberty [égaliberté]”, the idea that liberty as “non-coercion” and equality as “non-discrimination” are inseparable, such that “abolishing or fighting discrimination also implies abolishing or fighting constraint and coercion” (Balibar, 2002: 166). As an abstract ideal, equaliberty is affirmed categorically and unconditionally, as exceeding any determinate context. The inseparability of non-discrimination and non-coercion can be seen in the fact that Kant claims that the imperatives “to act on a principle one can willingly universalize” and “to treat people as ends-inthemselves” are different ways of formulating what is essentially the same categorical imperative.

Conclusion The characteristically left-wing affirmation of socio-political equality derives from moral universalism, the normative consistency required by the categorical imperative. The characteristically right-wing political affirmation of given hierarchies and of the interests of certain groups to the

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exclusion of others can only be based on a form of moral relativism. The popular portrayal of the left-right dichotomy that reverses this schema is unfounded. The conservative idea that particular traditions are the only sources of normativity, the nationalist exclusion of certain groups from moral consideration, the moral arbitrariness of religious fundamentalism, and the market-libertarian requirement to rigorously separate politics from moral deliberation, all indicate that the family of right-wing ideologies are bound together by an implicit meta-ethical relativism. When certain segments of the left claim to follow a form of moral relativism they are mistakenly using the term to refer to an affirmation of universal equality and liberty against the imperialistic false universalization of the interests of particular dominant groups. It is sometimes said that the distinction between left and right has outlived its usefulness and that its persistence merely serves to obscure our understanding of the variety of political persuasions. If the distinction is framed in terms of the meta-ethical basis of either side it can be revealed that the intuitive and traditional placing of the variety of political standpoints on certain sides of the dividing line remains largely intact. This framing serves to clarify the meaning of the distinction in the face of the prevailing mutual and self mischaracterizations that the proponents of left and right frequently engage in. Essentially, what the terms left and right refer to is the meta-ethical orientation of political positions, with the range of left-wing positions characterized by moral universalism and the range of right-wing positions characterized by moral relativism.

References Balibar, Étienne (2002), Politics and the Other Scene, London: Verso. Burke, Edmund (1987), Reflections on the Revolution in France, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company. Cook, John W. (1999), Morality and Cultural Differences, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Foucault, Michel (2007), The Politics of Truth, Los Angeles: Semiotext(e). Hayek, Friedrich A. (1948), Individualism and Economic Order, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. —. (1967), Studies in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. —. (1976), Law, Legislation and Liberty, Volume 2: The Mirage of Social Justice, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Hume, David (1978), A Treatise of Human Nature, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Kant, Immanuel (2005), Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, Peterborough ON: Broadview Press. Laclau, Ernesto (1996), Emancipation(s), London: Verso. Mises, Ludwig von (1944), Bureaucracy, New Haven: Yale University Press. Mouffe, Chantal (2005), The Return of the Political, London: Verso. Nozick, Robert (1999), Anarchy, State, and Utopia, Oxford: Blackwell. Plato (1997), “Euthyphro”, in Plato: Complete Works, ed. J. M. Cooper, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company. Posner, Richard A. (2002), The Problematics of Moral and Legal Theory, Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. Schmitt, Carl (2002), State, Movement, People, Corvallis: Plutarch Press. Strauss, Leo (1965), Natural Right and History, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. —. (1989), The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism, Chicago: Chicago University Press. Voegelin, Eric (1987), The New Science of Politics: an Introduction, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Žižek, Slavoj (1996), The Indivisible Remainder, London: Verso.

III. LEFT, RIGHT AND IDEOLOGY

INTRODUCTION

The language of left and right is perhaps dominant in politics, but it is far from covering the doctrinal references one finds in political disputes. So we need to turn to the language of classical and new ideologies to assess the fecundity of the dichotomy in connection with the usual references to liberalism, socialism and nationalism, among other ideologies. The contributors to the third part of this volume provide complex analyses of ideologies. In some cases, they use the left-right distinction in order to show its resilience, but in others they suggest that the dichotomy is no longer useful for the study of ideologies. Ben Jackson deals with the example of neo-liberalism, one of the most often invoked ideologies these days, at least by its opponents. He undertakes a probing analysis of the different players involved in the origins of neoliberalism: Mises and Hayek, M. Polanyi and Popper, Lippman and the Chicago School, and the German ordo-liberals, among others. He traces the “long march” towards the triumph of neoliberalism in the 1980s, starting with the early years of the 1930s and 1940s, and neoliberal debates that ranged from a defence of pure laissez-faire (Mises) to a more positive view on the role of the state (Hayek), or even approaches to state interventionism in favour of reducing inequality of opportunity that were closer to social-democracy (defended by Popper, Lippman and others). Accordingly, if one uses the traditional distinction between left and right (in terms of equality), there seems to have been, at least in these early years, a neoliberal left, centre and right. Ángel Rivero makes the claim that the left-right dichotomy is not useful for the analysis of nationalist ideologies. There may be left and rightwing nationalisms, but this classification does not add anything to the fundamental understanding of such ideologies (unless one uses a Marxist framework of analysis and a distinction between “good” – i.e., left – and “bad” – i.e., right – nationalisms). Using the terms in a different way, Rivero concludes that what is left of nationalism today is a promise of conflict and violence. However, there is also something “right” about nationalism, namely the fact that it addresses the need for belonging and community shared by all human beings. António Rosas and João Relvão Caetano deal with new trends in ideological creativity, focusing on digital activism and the use of

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Information and Communication Technologies in political mobilization. They argue that the left-right divide attached to social and economic cleavages has been superseded by this new wave of ideologies created through the Internet. They use two examples – Occupy Wall Street and Hindu Unity –to show that the new ideological ecology is much more plural and complex that that of classical ideologies and can therefore not be placed on a left-right continuum. Going back to the nineteenth century ideological disputes, Pedro Martins rehabilitates the left-right distinction as a category of analysis. He charts the ideological confrontations of that period, and corroborates that a divide between less egalitarian (right) and more egalitarian (left) views was consistent overtime. Nevertheless, the dichotomy was not stable in ideological terms, since liberalism, republicanism and even socialism had different versions and shades, and more or less egalitarian recipes were present in all these ideological outlooks. Anthoula Malkopolou covers ideological stances from both the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, focusing on the specific issue of the legal obligation to vote. In the nineteenth century and during the first half of the twentieth century, political thinkers and parties on the right advocated compulsory vote in France and Belgium, as part of an organicist, solidarity-focused or paternalist political outlook. By contrast, the debate over compulsory voting emerged in various countries towards the end of the twentieth century as part of a socialist or participatory outlook, because voluntary voting came to be seen as biased in favour of the privileged classes. The left-right dichotomy, then, remains useful for the analysis of the ideological shifts for the issue of compulsory voting, from the eighteen hundreds to the present time. Part of the left now defends what used to be defended by the right, but the ideological reasons invoked by both sides of the divide are consistent with their distinct political views. João Cardoso Rosas

THE IDEOLOGICAL ORIGINS OF NEO-LIBERALISM: LEFT, RIGHT OR CENTRE?* BEN JACKSON1

I. A familiar theme in the literature on neo-liberalism is what David Harvey has called its “long march” through the institutions of post-war civil society, a trek which famously culminated in the dramatic neo-liberal moment of the 1980s, when the arduous years in the wilderness finally gave way to great political influence and the patronage of the leading politicians of the age. The main burden of this literature is that the emergence of neo-liberalism as a political force was preceded by many years of careful intellectual work by an international network of committed and talented sympathisers, and by a concerted effort to disseminate neo-liberal ideas through key opinion-forming institutions in the industrialized nations, notably the universities, think-tanks, business organizations and the media (Hoover and Plant, 1989: 27; Desai, 1994; Cockett, 1995; Hartwell, 1995; Gamble, 1996; Yergin and Stanislaw,

 *

This article was previously published as “At the origins of neo-liberalism: the free economy and the strong state, 1930-47”, Historical Journal, 53, 2009: 129-51. It greatly benefited from presentation to the Oxford History of Political Thought seminar in November 2007; the PSA Labour Movements Group conference in June 2008; and the Cambridge Modern Economic and Social History seminar in February 2009. For invaluable comments and suggestions, I am grateful to the audiences on those occasions and to Martin Daunton, Clare Jackson, Desmond King, Melissa Lane, Gregg McClymont, Marc Stears, Zofia Stemplowska, Simon Szreter, Richard Toye, and two anonymous Historical Journal referees. The following people and institutions kindly granted permission to quote from private papers: Bruce Caldwell; Christopher Johnson; the Ludwig von Mises Archive at Grove City College; and the Karl Popper Library at the University of Klagenfurt. 1 University Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Oxford and Fellow of University College.

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2000; Denord, 2002; Caldwell, 2004; Walpen, 2004; Plehwe, Walpen and Neunhöffer, 2005; Harvey, 2005: 19-22, 39-63; Mirowski, 2007; Morowski, 2008; Peck, 2008; Foucault, 2008; Turner, 2008a; Turner, 2008b; Mirowski and Plehwe, 2009). In this article, I want to cast fresh light on this familiar story by examining the political thought of neoliberalism at the very beginning of its journey through civil society. While the outline of the “long march” narrative just summarised is certainly correct, I nonetheless argue that, at a more detailed level, insufficient attention has hitherto been paid to the evolution of neo-liberal ideas themselves during the course of their rise to intellectual hegemony. In particular, I contest an unhistorical assumption implicit in one common account of the rise of neo-liberal doctrine; namely, that the most influential theorists of a revival of market liberalism first entered public controversy in the 1930s and 1940s to dispel the growing illusion that the welfare state represented a stable middle way between capitalism and socialism2. Such an account anachronistically presents the early work of neo-liberal theorists as occupying precisely the same ideological space as the neoliberalism of the 1970s. It therefore misidentifies the primary target of neo-liberal theorists in the mid-twentieth century; underestimates the degree to which neo-liberal political thought evolved and mutated over the course of the post-war period; and portrays the ideology of neo-liberalism as systematic and self-confident at a time when it was in fact incomplete and uncertain. In making this case, I build on important research that has already begun to explore such arguments. In particular, the work of Bernhard Walpen on the Mont Pèlerin Society; Philip Mirowski and Robert Van Horn on the Chicago School; and Jeremy Shearmur on F. A. Hayek and Karl Popper has, in various ways, started to chip away at those resolutely non-historical accounts of neo-liberal institutions and doctrines (Walpen, 2004; Mirowski, 2008; Mirowski and R. Van Horn, 2009; Shearmur, 1996a: 3-5, 53-64; Shearmur, 1996b: 24-36, 50-7, 109-15; Shearmur, 1997: 68-82; Shearmur, 2006: 148-70). As Walpen and Mirowski have both rightly identified, for example, it is highly misleading to present the eventual triumph of neo-liberalism in idealist terms, as an achievement that came about simply because of the incisive thinking and writing of

 2

The classic account in this vein is Cockett, 1995: 35-56, 59-62, 77-78, 86-8. This view is also implicit in political commentary on neo-liberalism from both the left and the right: e.g. Barry et al., 1984: 5, 20-1, 89-94; Klein, 2007: 49-57. For a brief criticism of Cockett in a similar vein to the one documented in this article see Alan Peacock’s review in Economic Affairs, 15 (1995): 52. I am grateful to Peter Sloman for drawing this reference to my attention.

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great minds. Instead, it was crucial to the successful conclusion of the neoliberals’ long march that they were able to mediate their ideas through a number of interlocking institutions dedicated to developing, organizing, and popularizing their cause. The starting point for this institutional history is usually taken to be the founding of the Mont Pèlerin Society, at Hayek’s initiative, in 1947, although an earlier meeting between some of the key figures in the nascent movement, at the “Colloque Walter Lippmann” in Paris in 1938, prefigured the historic first gathering at Mont Pèlerin and has also been widely discussed3. Nonetheless, it is clearly of some interest to determine why a number of intellectuals scattered across the world felt a sufficient sense of political comradeship to band together in 1947. In his address to the very first session of the Mont Pèlerin Society, Hayek was in no doubt that the founding members shared key concerns: “I have had the good fortune in the last two years to visit several parts both of Europe and America and I have been surprised at the number of isolated men I found everywhere, working on essentially the same problems and on very similar lines” (Hayek, 1947a: 2-3). This article fills in the intellectual back-story to Hayek’s statement. It supplies a detailed map of the ideological exchanges, agreements, and tensions that subsisted among the members of this international network prior to their first full summit meeting and therefore serves as a prolegomenon to research on the institutionalization of neoliberalism. In the process, it also questions Hayek’s claim that he and his colleagues were indeed “isolated” from one another, or that it was only since 1945 that Hayek had been struck by their common interests. Instead, it becomes apparent that, from the mid-1930s onwards, a considerable amount of time had already been invested in developing personal and intellectual connections between many of the individuals who later assembled for their first plenary session at Mont Pèlerin4. The core themes of the nascent neo-liberal political thought of this period were, unsurprisingly, a vision of the free society and a critique of the threat to freedom posed by the encroaching power of the state. Although the defence of personal liberty in the face of expanded state responsibilities has been a familiar theme in political argument since at least the late nineteenth century – we might think here of such texts as

 3

For details of these early organisational initiatives, see Cockett, 1995: 54-6, 6777, 100-21; Hartwell, 1995: 20-99; Denord, 2001: 20-9; Walpen, 2004: 51-61, 8493, 98-117. 4 In this period we can also observe the earliest use of the term “neo-liberal” itself to refer to those seeking to modernise the market liberal tradition: for examples, see Denord, 2001: 11-13, 24.

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Herbert Spencer’s Man versus the state (1884) or Hilaire Belloc’s The servile state (1912) – the long-running debate about freedom and the state entered a distinctive new phase in the 1930s as theorists sympathetic to market liberalism grappled with the implications of such disturbing developments as Soviet central planning, the New Deal, the Popular Front government in France, and the rise of fascism. At the same time, the intellectual vitality of socialist thought and the convergence of certain strands of reformist socialism with Keynesian economics created a powerful ideological assault on the principles and practice of classical liberalism. The pendulum of expert opinion appeared to be swinging slowly, but surely, away from capitalism, a perception all but confirmed during the Second World War as nominally capitalist nations unleashed unprecedented state power over their economies and allied with the Soviet Union to wage total war on fascism5. The most influential, and probably most intellectually compelling, text to be written in response to these developments was Hayek’s The road to serfdom (1944), but this was only one of a slew of similar books and articles written in this period by a number of anxious liberal intellectuals. Whilst Hayek played a critical role in bringing together and mobilizing these allies, he was certainly not alone in taking up ideological arms in defence of liberty. One immediate source of support was the group of central European exiles resident in the English-speaking nations, such as Hayek’s mentor Ludwig von Mises; the economist Fritz Machlup; the Hungarian scientist Michael Polanyi; and Karl Popper, who was recruited by the London School of Economics (LSE) from New Zealand at Hayek’s urging. In this period, Hayek also enjoyed cordial relations with the German economists later known as the “ordo-liberals”. Although ideological and personal differences subsequently emerged between Hayek and some ordo-liberals in the 1950s and 1960s, in the 1930s and 1940s figures such as Wilhelm Röpke, Alexander Rüstow and Walter Eucken were largely of a like mind to Hayek and the other key neo-liberal theorists. In the United States, the earliest members of the Chicago School were also closely involved in the effort to rehabilitate market liberalism, notably Henry Simons, Frank Knight and, more peripherally at this stage, the young Milton Friedman. They were joined by compatriots such as the Princeton economist, Frank Graham, and, more surprisingly, the sometime progressive

 5

Neo-liberals such as Hayek obviously accepted that this assertion of state power was necessary during wartime in order to defeat the Nazis, but they worried that the distinction between the necessities of war and the need for a more liberal regime in peacetime would not be understood by elite or public opinion. See Hayek, 2007 [1944]: 213.

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theorist and influential political journalist, Walter Lippmann. In Britain, several prominent economists also allied themselves with Hayek, such as Lionel Robbins at the LSE; John Jewkes at Manchester; and W. H. Hutt, who had moved from the LSE to South Africa in 1928. William Rappard, the Swiss historian and diplomat, was, like Hayek, important in bringing together the various branches of this network. Finally, there were also sympathisers in France, in particular the philosopher Louis Rougier, who organised the first summit meeting of some of these characters in Paris at the “Colloque Walter Lippmann”, a seminar that Rougier convened specifically to discuss Walter Lippmann’s influential book, The good society (1937). Most of the individuals just cited were also present at the inaugural meeting of the Mont Pèlerin Society in 1947, or were to join the Society soon after, the exceptions being Simons, who died in 1946; Rougier, whose war-time dalliance with the Vichy regime in France rendered his presence in the Society unacceptable until 1956; and Lippmann, who was a founding member of the Society but never evinced any interest in attending its meetings or playing an active part in its affairs. This over-view of early neo-liberal thinkers is not exhaustive, but it gives some sense of the broader network of figures whose overlapping ideas were influential at the intellectual origins of neo-liberalism6. In the rest of this article, I argue that a close examination of these overlapping ideas in fact demonstrates that the earliest exponents of neo-liberal ideology focused primarily on socialist central planning rather than on the welfare state as their chief adversary and even sought to accommodate certain elements of the welfare state agenda within their liberalism as a means of legitimating the market.

II. The first wave of neo-liberal political thought slowly emerged into public view during the 1930s, and reached a raucous apotheosis with the highly politicized reception of The road to serfdom in 1944-45. The emerging movement’s leading figures were in private communication with one another throughout that time, even during the War, and usually read and commented on one another’s work. As a result of their wide-ranging private and public conversations, a distinctive set of shared political precepts began to take shape. Underpinning these precepts was an unwavering

 6

For a full list of the individuals involved in the “Colloque Walter Lippmann” and the founding members of the Mont Pèlerin Society, see Walpen, 2004: 60-1, 3912; Hartwell, 1095: 51.

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conviction that a purely defensive posture on the part of those in favour of market liberalism would hand the initiative to its enemies. Instead, neoliberals argued that it was necessary to articulate a new, positive vision of economic liberalism, which would offer not just a critique of harmful forms of state intervention in the economy, but also a full agenda of liberal reforms that would remake the prevailing economic disorder into the basis for a prosperous, harmonious and free society. In particular, as both Rüstow and Simons stressed in the early 1930s, this positive agenda should be premised on forging a “strong state”, capable of exercising control over powerful economic interest groups, and a “free economy”, characterised above all by the private ownership of the means of production and the use of the price mechanism to allocate resources (Rüstow, 1932: 62-9; Simons, 1934: 1-16; Eucken, 1932: 297-321; Hayek, 1935; Nicholls, 1994: 32-59; Gamble, 1994)7. Three features of this outlook drive home the distance to be travelled before this nascent ideology could mutate into the mature neo-liberalism that would win political favour in the late twentieth century: first, the early neo-liberal suspicion of nineteenth-century capitalism and liberalism; second, the emphasis of neo-liberals in the 1930s and 1940s on the value commitments that they shared with progressive liberalism and socialism; and third, the early neo-liberal endorsement of significant state regulation and redistribution as essential to the maintenance of a free society. First, neo-liberal writers presented their ideas as improving on significant weaknesses in nineteenth-century capitalism and liberalism. Although some affection was expressed in this literature for William Gladstone and J. S. Mill8, figures such as David Ricardo, Jeremy Bentham and Herbert Spencer were actually subjected to considerable criticism by neo-liberals, as indeed was the whole ideology of “Manchester liberalism”. By “Manchester liberalism” they understood a characteristic nineteenth-century belief that the market should be seen as a selfregulating mechanism and that the state’s role was to remove itself as far as possible from intervening in it or regulating it (Lippmann, 1937: 18492, 239-40, 297-8). Lippmann explicitly stated that using the ideal of laissez-faire to guide public policy was “based on so obvious an error that it seems grotesque” (Lippmann, 1937: 186). Indeed, Lippmann and his colleagues made the further point that the result of this philosophy – nineteenth-century capitalism – was morally disreputable. Jewkes, for

 7

The slogan “the free economy and the strong state” was of course later made famous by Andrew Gamble in his The free economy and the strong state (1994) as a crystallization of the statecraft and ideology of Thatcherism. 8 Admiration for Gladstone was expressed in e.g. Hayek, 2007 [1944]: 194.

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example, claimed that “the socialist attacks on the social rigidities and privileges of Victorian England were sound and … were successful in paving the way for a greater measure of economic equality and the breakdown of many vested interests” (Jewkes, 1948: 223). Popper even indicated that he fundamentally agreed with Karl Marx as an analyst of a free market economy. “Not much can be said against Marx’s analysis as a description of laissez-faire capitalism”, he wrote, since Marx lived at a time when the rhetoric of freedom was used to sanction “a life of desolation and misery” for the working class. Marx’s “burning protest against these crimes”, Popper argued, “will secure him forever a place among the liberators of mankind” (Popper, 1945b: 158, 113-4)9. Simons, Hutt, Hayek and Robbins did not go as far in voicing fullthroated criticism of the nineteenth-century legacy, but this does not mean that they should be classified as uncompromising “paleo-liberals” of the same type as Mises, who was in fact the only author associated with this group to defend uncompromisingly the night watchman state10. Instead, they insisted that nineteenth-century liberalism should not be understood “as a merely do-nothing policy”, but rather as a doctrine sanctioning a considerable role for the state in maintaining the legal and institutional order necessary for competitive markets (Simons, 1934: 3). As Robbins argued in a letter to Lippmann about The good society, “I am entirely at one with you in rejecting laissez-faire”, but Robbins also suggested to Lippmann that many nineteenth-century liberals would have agreed. Robbins claimed that figures such as Jevons, Sidgwick and Cannan were all ultimately on the same track as Lippmann (Robins, 1937b)11. Likewise, although Hayek was keen to defend the broad record of nineteenth-century liberalism, he was careful in The road to serfdom to distance himself from the laissez-faire principle. “Probably nothing has done so much harm to the liberal cause”, Hayek wrote, “as the wooden insistence of some liberals on certain rough rules of thumb, above all the principle of laissez-

 9

See also Popper, 1945b: 129-32, 166-7, 174-5, 181-2; Popper, 1945a: 97-8, 115. The definitive account of Popper’s sympathy with certain forms of socialism in this period is Hacohen, 2000: 383-520 (especially). For other examples of neoliberal criticism of the nineteenth-century liberal preference for laissez-faire, see Rougier, 1938: 34, 79-84; Rougier, 1939: 13-17, 32, 37-8, 62, 91-2; Rüstow, 1942: 268-74; Röpke, 1942a: 87-90, 300-3; Polanyi, 1951: 169, 187. 10 I return to the differences between Mises and the rest of this group in section III. The phrase “paleo-liberal” was coined by Rüstow: see Megay, 1970; Walpen, 2004: 57, 323 n 39. 11 A more extended argument about the political “misrepresentation” of classical economists and the industrial revolution was given by Hutt, 1936: 128-78.

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faire”. This was, he added, “a highly ambiguous and misleading description of the principles on which a liberal policy is based” (Hayek, 2007 [1944]: 118). As he later elaborated in his opening paper at Mont Pèlerin, Hayek believed nineteenth-century liberals should not “have given the impression that the abandonment of all harmful or unnecessary state activity was the consummation of all political wisdom” and that the question of positive state action “offered no serious and important problems on which reasonable people could differ” (Hayek, 1947b). Second, the neo-liberal critique of socialism and left-liberalism was not, at this stage, primarily targeted at leftist political ideals, but rather aimed at the methods that socialists or left liberals sought to use to achieve their goals. In particular, the neo-liberal argument was not, as it would later become, that the Left was necessarily wrong to pursue greater equality, social justice or economic security, but that the use of economic planning to obtain these ends would in fact vitiate any hope of achieving them and would decisively undermine individual liberty in the process. Simons opened his Positive program for laissez-faire with the observation that “there is in America no important disagreement as to the proper objectives of economic policy – larger real income, greater regularity of production and employment, reduction of inequality, preservation of democratic institutions. The real issues have to do merely with means, not with ends.” (Simons, 1934: 1). Even among neo-liberals based in Europe, there was a widespread view that liberals and socialists shared a number of value commitments despite differing over their policy implications. It was therefore the misguided application of these values that the neo-liberals sought to correct. This perspective comes out very clearly in the writings of, for example, Alexander Rüstow, Michael Polanyi, Popper and W. H. Hutt. Popper wrote to Hayek that a crucial objective of any liberal revival should be “getting over the fatal split in the humanitarian camp” by “uniting the vast majority of liberals and socialists (as it were, under the flags of Mill and Lippmann)” (Popper, 1944). Meanwhile, Hutt argued that liberty, security and equality were entirely compatible values; in his view they only became incompatible if equality was sought through totalitarian methods. He even claimed that his favoured policy proposals “can bring about the achievement of every ideal of which the democratic socialists have dreamed” (Hutt, 1943: 310)12. Hayek’s position was more ambiguous. He famously wrote The road to serfdom with the aim of persuading progressive liberals and socialists of



12 See also Hutt, 1943: 137-45, 310-11; Hutt, 1936: 313-47; Rüstow, 1942: 281-3; Polanyi, 1951: 144.

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the error of their ways, and much of the book was indeed devoted to establishing that significantly greater unfreedom, inequality and insecurity would emerge in a planned economy than would exist in a market order (Hayek, 2007 [1944]: 137-8, 149-56)13. As is well known, Popper suggested to Hayek in 1947 that the Mont Pèlerin Society should be open to liberal socialists as well as to neo-liberals. Less widely noted is that, in this letter, Popper made it clear that he and Hayek had already discussed this strategic issue informally. Popper observed: “My own position, as you will remember, was always to try for a reconciliation of liberals and socialists; with this tendency you were in sympathy” (Popper, 1947)14. One further piece of evidence suggests that Hayek had at least entertained this possibility. In a lecture given at Stanford in 1946, Hayek floated his longstanding interest in organizing an international network aimed at reviving liberal values. He gave a surprisingly inclusive account of the potential membership of such a network, describing an emerging liberal movement “which stretches from what one might call certain liberal socialist groups at the one extreme to certain liberal catholic groups on the other”, bound together by a belief “that personal liberty is the highest political good, more important than security” (Hayek, 1946: 10). Of course, the invitation list for the first meeting of the Mont Pèlerin Society was more narrowly drawn in the end, and even Hayek’s inclusive remarks at Stanford cut both ways, since they assumed a strict trade-off between freedom and economic security. Nonetheless, at this time Hayek, as he made clear in his opening paper at Mont Pèlerin, certainly claimed that certain efforts to promote greater economic security and equality were compatible with a free society (Hayek, 1947b: 4-5). Hayek’s arguments in this vein did not sit easily with other points he made elsewhere, which gestured towards his later comprehensive critique of patterned principles of justice. For example, he signalled that he was worried about broad principles such as “equality” and “distributive justice” which sought to impose detailed rankings of social value on the distribution of income and wealth; like “the common good”, Hayek thought that, under a regime of planning, these objectives would simply serve as masks for the sectarian agenda of dominant interest groups



13 Some contemporary critics of Hayek also took him to be attacking socialist means rather than socialist ends: Dickinson, 1940: 435; Pigou, 1944: 217-18; Durbin, 1945: 357-9. 14 Popper also argued Hayek was not a “reactionary” in correspondence with Rudolf Carnap: “[Hayek] is certainly not a protagonist of unrestricted capitalism. On the contrary, he insists on the need of a system of ‘Social Security’, on anticycle policy, etc.” (Popper, 2008 [1946]: 100).

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(Hayek, 2007 [1944]): 100-11, 139-42). Nonetheless, as discussed later, in the same work Hayek did endorse the state enforcement of some sort of distributive pattern. In this respect, as in many others, The road to serfdom was a transitional work, in which Hayek began to feel his way towards his mature intellectual position but had not, as yet, fully developed or integrated all of its elements. Third, neo-liberal authors were keen to emphasise that their philosophy was not reactionary and negative, but on the contrary embraced a weighty agenda of social and economic reform, a “positive program”, in Simon’s phrase. Their core claim was that they were not opposed to planning tout court, but to planning that involved the central direction of all economic resources according to a conscious blueprint. Instead, they advocated the design of an economic system that would enable individuals to formulate their own individual life-plans on a rational basis (Röpke, 1937: 185-87; Robbins, 1937a: 4-7; Hayek, 2007 [1944]): 85). Such a system would require a strong state to enforce the rule of law and leave the resolution of most economic decisions to the free play of the price mechanism. The creation and maintenance of this putative “competitive order” was, however, also thought to require certain non-market institutions and rules to ensure it functioned effectively, and it was acknowledged that its popular legitimacy would depend on certain forms of non-market social provision. Rougier, Röpke, and Hayek all illustrated these arguments with the same image, borrowed from Lippmann’s The good society. The difference between their liberal philosophy and central planning, they argued, was like that between, on the one hand, constructing rules of the road to bind all drivers to the same general regulations, as in the Highway Code, and, on the other hand, ordering drivers where to drive. Alternatively, it was like the difference between providing signposts and dictating routes to drivers (Lippmann, 1937: 283; Röpke, 1942a: 299-300; Hayek, 2007 [1944]): 113-114)15. Rougier played with the image slightly. He posed a three-fold contrast, between a socialist state, “true” liberalism, and “Manchester liberalism”. The first two were as Lippmann, Röpke and Hayek had indicated, while “Manchester liberalism”, Rougier argued, was like a regime that allowed cars to drive “as they please without a highway

 15

Lippmann also used the analogy of a whist club that, rather than restricting itself to stipulating a binding set of rules of the game for everyone, instructs players to play certain cards (Lippmann, 1937: 317). Keynes also used a similar rule of the road metaphor in his How to pay for the War (1940: 12).

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code”, which resulted in “the law of the jungle” (Rougier, 1938: 88)16. The gravest infringement of liberty, these images suggested, was granting the state the power to coerce directly the will of particular individuals, as opposed to limiting the state to the design of general rules that would apply equally to all. A further implication was that certain kinds of state activity, certain kinds of “intervention” even, could be perfectly compatible with individual liberty, provided that they did not undermine the free working of the price mechanism. As Rougier had suggested, for many neo-liberals of this period the aim was to chart, in the words of Röpke and Rüstow, a “third way” between Manchester liberalism and collectivism. This point was made most explicitly by Röpke and Rüstow themselves, who both distinguished between intervention that was “incompatible” with the market and intervention that was “compatible”. The core difference between these two seems to have turned on whether a particular intervention directly prohibited certain forms of market activity, and consequently led to greater and greater pressure on the state to undertake yet further intervention in the price mechanism or whether, on the contrary, the intervention simply altered the framework within which buyers and sellers made commercial decisions. This was, they claimed, the difference between, for example, instituting exchange controls and deciding to devalue a currency. Rüstow and Röpke also referred to “compatible” intervention as “liberal interventionism”. Similar vocabulary was used by Popper to characterise his favoured model of “democratic interventionism”, to be pursued through “piece-meal social engineering”, as distinct from the “utopian engineering” advocated by the enemies of the free society (Rüstow, 1932: 274-83; Rüstow, 1942: 274-83; Röpke, 1934: 50-1; Röpke, 1937: 187-93; Röpke, 1942a: 258-64; Popper, 1945a: 138-48; Popper, 1945b: 181-2)17. In correspondence with Röpke, Hayek indicated that he was unenthusiastic about the terminology of “compatible” or “incompatible” intervention, but broadly the same idea is conveyed in The road to serfdom: a distinction between forms of state activity that supplement market competition, or help to make it work more effectively; and state action that would subvert the price mechanism altogether (Röpke, 1942b; Hayek, 2007 [1944]: 85-90; Robbins, 1937a: 225-9; Rougier, 1938: 84-8;

 16

He also made the same point in Compte-rendu des séances du Colloque Walter Lippmann (1939: 16). 17 The “third way” vocabulary was also used by Walter Eucken to characterise the implications of Hayek’s Road to serfdom (Eucken, 1946: 3).

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Polanyi, 1940: 35-40, 59-60)18. As Hayek elaborated when lecturing on his book in the United States in 1945, he was actually against “the idea that all government action or interference with business is bad”, and opposed “the very dangerous tendency of using the term ‘socialism’ for almost any kind of state activity which you think is silly or which you do not like”. This, Hayek argued, was “crying wolf!” Instead, liberals required “a set of principles which enables us to distinguish between what form of government activity is good, is necessary, and where government intervention in economic affairs is of a dangerous nature” (Hayek, 1945: 6). Indeed, during the course of the lengthy correspondence between Popper and Hayek about the manuscript of The open society and its enemies, Hayek even wrote to Popper: “In the sense in which you use and carefully explain these terms, I have no objection against ‘interventionism’” (Hayek, 1943)19.

III. The state activities identified by neo-liberals in the 1930s and 1940s as infringing on liberty therefore differed from their subsequent targets: they objected mainly to economic planning, understood in a strong sense. As has been explored elsewhere, a very diverse range of economic projects were grouped together as “planning” in this period, ranging from capitalist-sponsored efforts to “rationalise” industries to market socialism to Soviet-style Gosplanning, with Keynes-inspired fiscal “planning” often thrown in for good measure (Ritschel, 1997; Toye, 2003; Tomlinson, 1992; Reagan, 1999). At this stage, neo-liberal authors focused their energies on opposing the socialist and fascist strands of this discourse. At the beginning of The road to serfdom, Hayek defined planning as “a central direction of all economic activity according to a single plan, laying down how the resources of society should be ‘consciously directed’ to serve particular ends in a definite way” (Hayek, 2007 [1944]: 85)20. This was a definition that clearly had the Soviet or Nazi model of planning in

 18

In his introduction to the 1976 edition of The road to serfdom, Hayek noted that when writing the book “I had not wholly freed myself from all the current interventionist superstitions, and in consequence still made various concessions which I now think unwarranted.” (Hayek, 2007 [1944]: 55). 19 Although Hayek also indicated in the same letter that he would not personally choose to employ the term to describe his own position. 20 For similar definitions, see Robbins, 1937a: 7; Polanyi, 1940: 27-40; Röpke, 1942a: 38-40; Jewkes, 1948: x-xi, 1-3. On this point, see also Shearmur, 1997: 713.

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mind and implicitly also included more moderate forms of market socialism, on the grounds that they prescribed an unstable “third way” that would in due course skid down the slippery slope towards totalitarian control over the economy. Neo-liberals had initially objected, in the early 1930s, to the impossibility of rational economic calculation in such a centrally planned economy; the later 1930s and 1940s saw this replaced as the dominant line of neo-liberal argument by an emphasis on the destructive consequences of central planning for individual liberty21. Crucially, however, in both phases of this debate the chief enemy of the neo-liberals was not the nascent welfare state or even Keynesian economics. Among the authors conventionally bracketed together as the founders of neo-liberalism, there was, as might be expected, a spectrum of positions on these issues, rather than a uniform line. Mises was clearly the most uncompromising member of this group who, even in this period, argued for positions that were not very different from the neo-liberalism of the 1970s. According to a famous anecdote, recounted by Milton Friedman, during one early meeting of the Mont Pèlerin Society, Mises lost his temper with the other attendees and stormed out shouting “You’re all a bunch of socialists!” (Cockett, 1995: 114; Friedman and Friedman, 1998: 161). This anecdote resonates with Mises’s initial response to Hayek’s proposal to form the Society. Mises replied to Hayek with a memo that demanded that the new group commit itself to an unadulterated philosophy of laissez-faire and claimed that the weak point of Hayek’s proposal was the intention to include in the Society individuals in favour of certain forms of state intervention, such as the sometime Chicago economist Harry Gideonse and Röpke (Mises, 1946a; Mises, 1946b). A further flavour of the Mises Weltanschauung can be gleaned from another of his letters to Hayek: “Do you still consider the Economist an excellent periodical? I think it is rather a twin brother of the New Statesman and Nation” (Mises, 1943). The ordo-liberals were more or less open in their disagreements with Mises; it was Rüstow who first dubbed him a “paleoliberal”. Both the published record of the Colloque Walter Lippmann and the unpublished rough notes of the first meeting of the Mont Pèlerin Society suggest that Mises invariably occupied the rightmost flank of the discussion (Rougier, 1939: 41-2, 60-1, 74, 88-90; Hayek, 1947b). However, it is also clear from private correspondence that even Mises’s Austrian friends and allies had reservations about his politics. Although his colleagues remained loyal in public, much hand-wringing went on in

 21

For the earlier phase of the neo-liberal critique, see Hayek, 1935.

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private about Mises’s dogmatic character and his lack of political sophistication; Machlup was particularly vocal on this score in his letters to Hayek22. Hayek was more discrete, but even he expressed doubts, noting in a letter to the economist, Allan Fisher, that “the somewhat extreme and frequently naïve views” at times expounded by the free market publicist, Henry Hazlitt, “seem to derive from our old friend Mises, with whom Hazlitt is on very intimate terms, and from whom he derives most of his economics” (Hayek, 1948a)23. Mises’s colleagues were therefore open to a different policy agenda. As Graham remarked in response to a typical remark by Mises at the first Mont Pèlerin Society conference: “If we carry out the suggestions of Prof. Mises we shall be in the jungle. We are here met to find the middle road between the jungle and the jail” (F. Graham quoted in Hayek, 1947c: 5). Walter Lippmann’s book is a good example in this respect: it was a text considered of sufficient interest to assemble the emerging movement’s leading figures in Paris in 1938, but in fact proposed a good society that would be quite unacceptable to later neo-liberals. Although Lippmann had by then emerged as a critic of the New Deal, his objections were primarily procedural rather than substantive: he abhorred Roosevelt’s attempt at court-packing in February 1937 and the lack of congressional scrutiny accorded to Roosevelt’s tax proposals in 1935. When Lippmann outlined his positive proposals for public policy in The good society they included social insurance; smaller corporations; higher public investment in education and health; the gradual equalization of wealth through “drastic inheritance and steeply graduated income taxes”; and the use of public works programmes and public investment to reduce unemployment, the latter point explicitly drawn from the arguments of Keynes’s General theory. The book’s acknowledgements not only expressed Lippmann’s indebtedness to Mises and Hayek, “whose critique of planned economy has brought a new understanding of the whole problem of collectivism”, but also thanked “Mr John Maynard Keynes, who has done so much to demonstrate to the free peoples that the modern economy can be regulated

 22

See e.g. Machlup, 1941: 192; 1944a; 1944b. For an example of public criticism of Mises from within neo-liberal ranks, see Simons, 1944a: 192-3. 23 In correspondence with Machlup, Hayek defended Mises but also acknowledged his shortcomings. In one letter, Hayek noted that although Mises’s work had “very brilliant patches”, he “has not the gift to persuade” (Hayek, 1944). See also Hayek, 1941. For similar thoughts about the complexities of the Hayek-Mises relationship, with a focus on the methodological differences between them, see Caldwell, 2004: 143-9, 220-3.

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without dictatorship” (Lippmann, 1937: xli-xlii, 212-32)24. Lippmann probably occupied the left-most flank of the neo-liberal debates, but he was not alone in advocating these policies. Three major policy themes in the neo-liberal literature of the 1930s and 1940s exemplified a willingness to countenance state-sponsored regulation and even redistribution: first, support for state intervention to break up large corporations; second, support for a state-sponsored social minimum and equality of opportunity; and third, a surprisingly complex attitude towards Keynes and countercyclical government intervention in the economy. The first of these themes focused on the danger posed to both individual freedom and economic efficiency by large corporations and concentrations of property. Many neo-liberal authors argued that the power exercised by vast business organizations over individual workers and consumers, and the dependency bred by such power, was as destructive to the personal independence that they prized as an overmighty state. In particular, the work of Henry Simons and the early writings of the ordo-liberals established a clear, unequivocal hostility to corporate power and stressed that state partiality to its sectional interests would only corrupt and weaken the state. As Simons put it, “the great enemy of democracy is monopoly, in all its forms: gigantic corporations, trade associations and other agencies for price control, trade unions – or, in general, organization and concentration of power within functional classes” (Simons, 1934: 4, emphasis in original). One widely discussed analysis of the apparent prevalence of monopolistic companies in mid-twentieth-century capitalism, favoured in particular by Mises, was that the main culprits of this deformity of market capitalism were state intervention and protectionism. Mises therefore frequently argued that the only remedy was to return to free trade and uninhibited market forces. While other neo-liberal writers were in some respects sympathetic to this agenda, they modified it by insisting that certain forms of state activity would also be necessary to contain the great power exercised by large corporations. The classic statement of this case, very influential in neo-liberal circles at this time, was made by Simons, who included the “elimination of private monopoly in all its forms” as the first proposal in his agenda for positive liberal reform. Simons argued that this would require serious changes to corporate law, including a legal limit on the total amount of property that could be owned by one corporation; the abolition of holding companies; prohibitions on inter-locking

 24

Lippmann knew Keynes fairly well: see the warm correspondence between them in the Lippmann papers, folder 1217, and Steel, 1980: 304-9.

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directorships; and a crackdown on the use of corporate earnings to evade income tax (Simons, 1934: 17, 19-21)25. These proposals, which in effect amounted to a state-sponsored programme to break up large companies and concentrations of property, were later enthusiastically taken up by Lippmann, Graham, Hutt and Röpke, whilst Hayek also seems to have been sympathetic in the 1930s and possibly 1940s (Lippmann, 1937: 21618, 222-4, 277-81; Graham, 1942: 203-22; Röpke, 1942a: 366-74, 251; Hutt, 1943: 287-92; Hayek, 1937; Hayek, 1942; Hayek 1947a: 12-13; Hayek, 1947b: 16-18 [or 116 in published version]; Van Horn, 2009: 20913)26. Simons, Röpke and Graham were willing to go even further. All three recommended the socialization of monopolies should free competition prove unworkable in particular industries. In particular, they favoured public ownership of “natural” monopolies such as utilities and the railways; this was preferable, in their view, to strict government regulation of the private owners of such industries (Simons, 1934: 11-2, 18, 22-3; Graham, 1942: 223-4; Röpke, 1942a: 306-7). Hutt and Röpke also favoured selective public ownership of specific companies in order to provide competition to the private sector (Hutt, 1940: 431; Hutt, 1943: 232-47; Röpke, 1942a: 306-7)27. Hayek disagreed with these proposals, and although Graham raised the socialization of utilities at the Mont Pèlerin Society’s first meeting, the surviving notes of the discussion suggest that it sparked controversy among the founding members rather than widespread assent (Mirowski and Van Horn, 2009: 142; Hayek, 2007 [1944]: 206-7; Hayek, 1947c). There was nevertheless agreement in these circles that the creation of a free and competitive economic order would require significant state regulation of private corporations and measures designed to ensure a wider diffusion of private property. The most ambitious version of this social vision was articulated by Rüstow and Röpke. Their “ordo-liberalism” envisaged the creation of a decentralized economy composed of smaller population centres and enterprises and characterized by a more equal spread of individual property holdings. In certain respects, they regarded an agrarian, peasant economy as embodying social virtues absent from what Röpke called the “proletarianized society” of contemporary capitalism, which he saw as scarred by insecurity, dependence and

 25

For helpful discussion of Simons in this context, see Mirowski and Van Horn, 2009: 142-3, or De Long, 1990. 26 Lippmann and Hutt did not explicitly refer to Simons as the source of their ideas on the reform of corporate law. 27 Lippmann also favoured a mixture of public and private ownership (Lippmann, 1937: 305-7).

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arbitrariness. It was not capitalism, wrote Röpke, but “big enterprise which goes far to destroy personal independence, spontaneity of decisions, variety of action, and individual craftsmanship” (Röpke, 1936: 323). Rüstow and Röpke regarded the disappearance of the communal spirit and hardy independence purportedly enjoyed by the peasantry as a grave social loss and therefore argued that the life and work of the industrial worker should be rendered as similar as possible to that of a traditional artisan or peasant. To achieve this, they recommended a programme of “deproletarianization” that included the use of significant regional planning powers to break up big cities and corporations alike; the encouragement of peasant agriculture, artisan production and small traders; state assistance for the research and development and capital requirements of small businesses; and measures to enable workers to own their homes and a share of capital (Röpke, 1942a: 318-57; Röpke, 1949: 973-4, 998-9; Rüstow, 1942: 279-83; Rüstow, 1939: 77-83). There was, however, one further implication of the neo-liberal stance against corporate power. Simon’s passionate injunctions against monopoly, quoted earlier, castigated not only “gigantic corporations”, but also trade unions. This remark was broadly reflective of the early neo-liberal outlook, since almost all of these authors regarded trade unions as essentially identical to large corporations in their exercise of coercion, their creation of dependency, and their obstruction of the free working of the price mechanism. Unions, too, were therefore seen as excessively powerful organizations that ought to be subjected to stronger legal regulation and broken down into smaller units. In this context, the work of Hutt and Simons proved particularly influential. Hutt’s The theory of collective bargaining (1930) and Simon’s article “Some reflections on syndicalism” (1944b) both analysed trade unionism as simply another attempt by owners of a particular good to monopolize its supply. The consequence of unionization, they argued, was that the privileged insiders in trade unions reaped monopoly gains from their wage-fixing, thus advantaging themselves relative to the really disadvantaged workers, namely those working in industries that were not as easily unionized. Furthermore, this union monopoly raised prices for consumers and allowed unions to take advantage of their special state protections to exercise coercion and legalized violence through closed-shop agreements and strikes. Possible remedies included major changes to industrial relations law to reshape the trade union movement by breaking unions into firm-specific associations, or even the legal prohibition of strike action, although many prominent neo-liberals, including Simons, felt that major initiatives in this area were simply not practical politics because of the

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broad public support enjoyed by organized labour (Hutt, 1930; Hutt, 1943: 83-4, 273; Simons, 1934: 9-10, 21-2; Simons, 1944b; Graham, 1942: 1789; Robbins 1937b; Simons, 1937; Hayek, 1947b: 19-20 [117 in published version]; Hayek, 1947d). This hostility to trade unionism should, in any case, be contextualised within the broader neo-liberal case against monopolistic producer interests and the corruption of the state by pressure groups, and their disposition in favour of the interests of the individual citizen as a consumer. As Hayek put it, “the impetus of the movement towards totalitarianism comes mainly from the two great vested interests: organized capital and organized labour” (Hayek, 2007 [1944]: 204). The crucial point is that, in this period, “organized capital” and “organized labour” were given equal billing in the neo-liberal case for a free society. The moral equivalence between the two was, of course, not to last. In due course, “organized labour” was to emerge as the principal architect of the encroaching totalitarianism of the post-war boom and as the chief target of the strong state recommended by neo-liberal theory. As Milton Friedman observed at the first meeting of the Mont Pèlerin Society, however, it seemed to these authors that it would only be legitimate for the state to take action against the unions if the underlying problem of the low incomes and economic insecurity of the working class had first been solved (Friedman quoted on Hayek, 1947e: 1). The second theme to notice in early neo-liberal policy discussions is therefore a broad acceptance of the need for a state-sponsored minimum income, and of a legitimate role for fiscal policy in narrowing inequalities of opportunity. The early neo-liberals were not advocates of a completely unpatterned distribution of income and wealth, nor of constructing a market economy without a safety net. As discussed earlier, these authors did not examine in any depth, or frontally assault, the normative values recommended by the Left in this period. Some undoubtedly harboured anxieties about complex patterned principles of justice that sought to compress and rearrange the relative ordering of incomes and wealth according to abstract moral criteria such as “equality” or “social justice”. Notwithstanding this worry, however, almost all of the neo-liberals argued that a rough distributive pattern should be imposed by the state in the form of a floor constraint on income levels and the redistribution of very large concentrations of wealth; the corollary was that these neo-liberal pioneers did not believe that a properly functioning free market would itself provide every member of the community with an acceptable standard of living. In The road to serfdom, Hayek explicitly conceded that there was “a strong case for reducing… inequality of opportunity”; indicated that legal regulations governing maximum working hours fell within his definition

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of the rule of law; and argued that it was desirable to guarantee a minimum level of food, shelter and clothing to every citizen, partly because he accepted there was a sense in which progressives were correct to regard economic security “as an indispensable condition of real liberty”. Hayek noted that the “independence of mind or strength of character” he valued “is rarely found among those who cannot be confident that they will make their way by their own effort”. For this reason, it was necessary for collective provision outside the market to establish a national minimum and to insure against sickness and accidents (Hayek, 2007 [1944]: 118, 134, 147-9, 156, 215)28. In this respect, Hayek’s views were not radically distinct from left-wingers who also emphasised the extent to which fear and insecurity could undermine the liberty to act of disadvantaged individuals. These sentiments were amplified by Hayek’s colleagues. Simons, for example, favoured increasing the progressivity of the income tax system to boost the incomes of the lowest paid and to expand social services (Simons, 1934: 26-30; Simons, 1944b: 19)29. Graham was more inclined towards proportional taxation, but also endorsed the capping or progressive taxation of very high incomes; the regulation of working hours; and a minimum wage law (Graham, 1942: 177-81, 231-40; Graham, 1944: 428). Popper argued for labour market regulation, social insurance, and pensions to ensure that a richer and more substantial liberty could be enjoyed by all citizens (Popper, 1945b: 116-18, 122-3, 129-30, 169-70). Hutt proposed probably the most detailed neo-liberal scheme along these lines in his Plan for reconstruction (1943), written as a post-Beveridge contribution to the British debate over post-war reconstruction. Among other proposals, Hutt envisaged workers signing up to a “labour security bill” that guaranteed a minimum income subsidised by the state, to be uprated in line with the cost of living; the regulation of total working hours; and a system of contributory pensions and health insurance, all granted in exchange for the dissolution of the traditional rights given to trade unions to bargain collectively for wages. These measures were to be funded by a proportional levy on all incomes (Hutt, 1943: 5-19, 60-2, 165-85)30. It was

 28

In the course of a radio debate in the US on The road to serfdom (on 22nd April 1945), Hayek indicated that limits on maximum working hours and social insurance schemes were, from his point of view, legitimate functions for the state: see the transcript reprinted in Kresge and Wenar, 1994: 112-14. See also Shearmur, 1997: 71-2. 29 Röpke also endorsed the use of redistributive fiscal policy: see 1942a: 305-6. 30 Hayek commended Hutt’s “very interesting suggestions” and said that his plan “will repay careful study” (2007 [1944]: 150, n. 5).

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also in this period that Milton Friedman began to develop his plans for a negative income tax, a proposal that sought to replace existing welfare expenditure with a system of tax credits that ensured a minimum income for all, and which subsequently attracted the attention of policy-makers in the 1970s. Friedman presented one of the earliest versions of his scheme to the first meeting of the Mont Pèlerin Society (Friedman quoted on Hayek, 1947e: 1-3)31. As this summary indicates, there was no clear neo-liberal line on the optimal model of income taxation. Some authors were in favour of progressive taxation, others proportional. Hayek, for example, was gradually moving towards a critique of progressive taxation, but had not yet fully developed his views on this question (Hayek, 1947b: 21-2 [118 in printed version]; Hayek, 1953: 229-32)32. There was, however, general agreement among these authors that capital taxation, especially inheritance tax, represented a fair and legitimate tool for promoting equal opportunity (Nicholls, 1994: 101-2; Hayek, 1947b: 22 [118 in printed version]). We should be careful not to over-state the enthusiasm of these authors for what subsequently became known as “the welfare state”. They were wary of compulsory insurance schemes of the sort advocated by Beveridge, and even in this period there was concern about the potential impact of “welfare dependency” if unemployment benefit was granted on too generous terms. The greatest hostility to the welfare state in this vein actually came from the ordo-liberals, later to be lauded as the ideological inspiration for the German model of welfare capitalism. Röpke, in particular, was scathing about Beveridge’s proposals, regarding them as simply compounding the dependency and proletarianization that he abhorred; the only true method of “deproletarianization”, he argued, was to diffuse property ownership more widely, not “still more social insurance, a still larger social bureaucracy, still more of pushing incomes about hither and thither, yet more labels and more stamps, yet further concentration of power, national income and responsibility in the hand of the state which is seeking to encompass, regulate, concentrate and control everything” (Röpke, 1948: 146-7; all in italics in original)33. Yet even Röpke agreed with some forms of social insurance and accepted that other welfare measures would be necessary as palliatives for the actually existing proletarians (Röpke, 1942a: 266-7, 360). His hostility to grander proposals was not motivated by disagreement with their underlying aims.

 31

Friedman later made this proposal famous in his Capitalism and freedom (2002 [1962]: 190-4). 32 Hayek did not discuss taxation in any detail in Road to serfdom. 33 See also Röpke, 1942a: 357-61.

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He simply believed that his model of “deproletarianization”, which focused on diffusing private property ownership more widely, represented a bolder and more far-reaching challenge to the ills of mass industrialised society. Neo-liberalism, although by no means egalitarian or in agreement in every particular, was in this period part of the growing consensus that the state should regulate and redistribute to provide basic minimum standards and equal opportunity for all its citizens. Third, the opposition to Keynes was not as clear or as vociferous as might be expected in this circle. Indeed, Keynes was the cause of division and uncertainty within neo-liberal ranks. As already mentioned, Lippmann was a warm supporter of the use of counter-cyclical government intervention for Keynesian reasons. Polanyi and Popper also advocated such policies; Popper even argued that the pioneering use of countercyclical policies in the social democratic Sweden of the 1930s showed the way forward for other nations (Popper, 1945b: 169-70, 318 n. 10; Polanyi, 1945: 142-5). After the war, Jewkes and Robbins, fresh from their war work in the Economic Section of the British Cabinet Office, also endorsed moderate forms of Keynesian intervention (Jewkes, 1948: 63-6, 73; Robbins, 1947: 67-73). Robbins, in particular, had extensively revised his views: in the 1930s he had offered staunch opposition to Keynes’s advocacy of a government-sponsored reflation of the economy, but he came to doubt the wisdom of this stance during the War. Having seen at first hand the role played by the state in eliminating mass unemployment through war-time expenditure, Robbins became more sympathetic to certain Keynes-influenced policy prescriptions. In this new mood, he and Jewkes helped to draft and promote within government the 1944 white paper on employment policy that famously enshrined the British state’s new commitment to maintaining “a high and stable level of employment”. This iconic document of the British social democratic “consensus” was therefore shepherded into British public life by two economists who would shortly afterwards take their places as founding members of the Mont Pèlerin Society (Employment policy, 1944: 3; Addison, 1975: 242-6; Jewkes, 1978: 39-52; Tomlinson, 1987: 45-79). As Robbins later observed in his memoirs, his war-time change of mind had not necessarily led him to endorse everything in the General theory; but it did mean that he believed government had an important role to play in smoothing out fluctuations in aggregate demand (Robbins, 1971: 186-9, 224). Other neo-liberals presented their ideas as opposed to Keynes’s, but like Robbins were also open to the use of government public works and spending to manage levels of demand in the economy. Simons, Hayek, Hutt and Röpke were perhaps the most vociferous in their criticism of

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Keynes. But although Simons and Röpke joined with Hayek and Hutt in looking to monetary policy as the best tool to ensure economic stability, both Simons and Röpke actually advocated reflationary fiscal policy as the least worst way of escaping from the depression of the 1930s (Simons, 1934: 34-5; Röpke, 1942a: 279-80; Röpke, 1948: 207-8). Hayek was, of course, a leading critic of Keynesian demand management in this period. Nonetheless, his differences with Keynes were chiefly technical in nature. There was only one clear allusion to Keynesian economics in The road to serfdom. Hayek warned that if attempts were made to even out the economic cycle by funding public works, then “we shall have carefully to watch our step if we are to avoid making all economic activity progressively more dependent on the direction and volume of government expenditure”. He also noted that he personally favoured the use of monetary policy, rather than fiscal policy, to even out economic fluctuations. “In any case”, he added, “the very necessary efforts to secure protection against these fluctuations do not lead to the kind of planning which constitutes such a threat to our freedom” (Hayek, 2007 [1944]: 149). At this stage in his career, Hayek did not view counter-cyclical government intervention as the principal, or even a major, threat to the free society and distinguished between this approach to economic downturns and full-scale economic planning. He later made this even clearer in an unpublished postscript to The road to serfdom, written in 1948, where he acknowledged his differences with “Keynesian” analysis, but added: “I may be wrong in this. But whether I am right or wrong, the technical reasons for my dissent from the now prevalent view have little to do with the main argument of this book” (Hayek, 1948b: 12)34. Most of the neo-liberals, however, deplored the popular version of Keynesian doctrines that began to gain adherents throughout the industrialised democracies in the 1940s. They directed particular animus towards William Beveridge’s Full employment in a free society (1944) and the work of the Harvard economist, Alvin Hansen (Beveridge, 1944; Hansen, 1947). They saw the Beveridge-Hansen version of Keynesianism as mandating an irresponsible degree of state control over the economy and as adopting a target of “full employment” that was far more ambitious, and inflationary, than anything Keynes himself contemplated in the

 34

For a similar interpretation of this evidence, see Shearmur, 1997: 71-2. Note that Hayek, based in Cambridge during the Second World War, also enjoyed an increasingly friendly personal relationship with Keynes at this time (Ebenstein, 2003: 106). All of this provides some context for understanding the famously amicable letter that Keynes sent to Hayek after reading The road to serfdom (Keynes 1944: 385-8).

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General theory. Beveridge stipulated three per cent as the unemployment rate at which full employment would be reached, whereas Keynes had thought five per cent was probably more realistic (Beveridge, 1944: 21; Keynes 1944b: 381; Skidelsky, 1992: 605). Neo-liberals considered the Beveridge-Hansen view to be “hyper-Keynesianism” or “primitive Keynesianism”, which sanctioned an economically unsustainable, statedirected permanent boom (Simons, 1945: 212, 220-2, 229, 233; Nicholls, 1994: 52; Röpke, 1942a: 275-9; Eucken, 1946: 1-2; Hayek, 1948b: 13; Hayek, 1947f)35.

IV. The aim of this article has not been to suggest that the characters now labelled as “neo-liberals” were, in fact, new liberals or social democrats in their early years. There is some truth to this claim with respect to a few members of this network, such as Lippmann, Popper and Polanyi. Aside from these exceptions, however, there were still sharp differences of principle, policy and political identity between most neo-liberals and the mainstream social democratic position, as their grave doubts about Beveridge and “hyper-Keynesianism” indicated. While the early neoliberals rejected laissez-faire, they remained more suspicious of the power of the state than their counterparts on the moderate Left36. Nonetheless, all the early neo-liberals clearly felt strong pressure from the Left not to appear merely reactionary or old-fashioned. The most striking feature of the ideological map in the late 1930s and early 1940s is therefore that, in some respects, the gap between market liberals and the moderate Left actually narrowed. Social democrats were increasingly willing to acknowledge the importance of the price mechanism and consumer sovereignty to individual liberty and economic efficiency, while neoliberals conceded the need for social protection for employees and their dependents; for wealth taxes and public expenditure to ensure a fair start for all; and even for limited intervention in the business cycle during economic depressions (Nicholls, 1994: 87; Tomlinson, 1992: 157-8, 166-



35 A further concern for neo-liberals was the possibility that this form of Keynesianism would influence the design of post-war international institutions and hence promote a system of co-ordinated international economic planning: for this debate, see Toye and Toye, 2004: 87-109. 36 I am grateful to a Historical Journal referee for this formulation.

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9)37. The neo-liberalism of the 1930s and 1940s was therefore not a fullyformed, coherent and “total” critique of all forms of state intervention in the market38. In stressing that neo-liberals of this period focused on socialism as distinct from what would later be labelled the “Keynesian welfare state”, however, I am not suggesting that the attention of neo-liberal writers was fixed on a trivial target. There is no doubt that, partly due to the prestige enjoyed by the Soviet economy, the goal of a post-market order was popular on the Left in this period, and that some progressive political leaders and intellectuals had failed to think through the implications of this objective for individual freedom with sufficient rigour. In this sense, many of the points made by authors such as Hayek about respecting consumer sovereignty and freedom of occupational choice were important, wellmade, and even found a sympathetic audience at the time among elements of the social democratic Left39. But this also reveals that the 1930s and 1940s should be seen as a distinct phase in the history of neo-liberalism. For these self-styled guardians of liberal values, it was a period of immense pessimism, uncertainty and crisis, much more so than the 1950s or 1960s. Given that so many of the key figures in this nascent movement were from central Europe, this pervasive gloom should hardly be surprising. The post-war settlement was as yet unsettled; the major threats to Western freedom were truly sinister totalitarian regimes. Hayek himself later agreed that his target when writing The road to serfdom had been “classical socialism”. Writing in 1956, he noted that he had focused principally on Soviet-style “hot socialism”, at the expense of the cold socialism represented by advocates of the “welfare state” (Kresge and Wenar, 1994: 108; Hayek, 1967: 220-1). But the surprisingly interventionist character of much neo-liberal thought in this period suggests that this focus on “hot socialism” was not just the result of a strategic assessment of the most pressing threat to liberal values. Rather, it also stemmed from a belief, common to virtually all of the intellectuals discussed in this article, that the legitimation of the market, and the individual liberty that the market can best secure, had to be accomplished via an expansion of state capacity and a clear admission

 37

This convergence over the role of the price mechanism was noted at the time by Hutt (1940: 419-20), but he did not stress the degree to which the ground between the two sides had narrowed on distributive issues as well. 38 In reaching this conclusion I therefore dissent from Foucault’s verdict that such a whole-sale neo-liberal critique of the state “is effectively, completely, and already very clearly formulated in the years 1930-45” (Foucault, 2008: 189). 39 E.g. Jay, 1937; Meade, 1948.

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that earlier market liberals had been wrong to advocate laissez-faire. At this stage in their careers, they were keen to demonstrate that their vision of liberalism could accommodate elements of the socialist critique of capitalism. It was in this sense that they were believers in a free economy and a strong state.

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WHAT’S LEFT AND WHAT’S RIGHT IN NATIONALISM? ÁNGEL RIVERO*

“L’alternative de la droite et de la gauche a-t-elle encore un sens? Celui qui posse cette question devient immédiatement suspect” —Raymond Aron

Conventionally, in the study of ideologies, nationalism has been attributed to the right, whereas the left was associated with cosmopolitanism or internationalism. But this common understanding barely matches with reality because authors, parties and movements from the left and the right have made ample use of populism and nationalism. Indeed under certain conditions, the worst forms of nationalism were deployed by rightist and leftists movements alike. For instance, if we regard the extremes of the political spectrum we will find the same pattern: Stalin, a Georgian by birth, was a Russian nationalist, in the same sense that Hitler, born Austrian, was a German nationalist. Although they were criminals in the name of their adopted nation, it does not help much to term them left or right nationalist criminals. Thus, in this text I would like show that to talk about left and right in relation to nationalism is pure nonsense. Nationalism is an ideology in itself, and thus it is beyond left and right. But this statement on nationalism has also implications for the value of the left-right distinction.itself. In fact, if we really want to understand ideologies, we should get rid of left and right. Left and right were useful as a political compass in constitutional politics. Ideological politics cannot be illuminated by this pair of concepts, but today the left-right divide is no longer useful as a political compass in constitutional politics either. For instance, it is nonsense to say that Swedish social democracy has some ideological affinity with the Khmer Rouge or that they share a common belonging to the left or share a common understanding of nation. The

 *

Professor of Political Theory of the Autonomous University of Madrid.

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Khmer Rouge is pure ideological politics: the fanatic implementation of a nationalist-communist plan to create a new Cambodia out of the ashes of a traditional society. On the contrary, the Swedish social democratic party entered constitutional politics in 1917, when, rejecting the Soviet experiment, it embraced democracy not as a means to transform society but as a goal in itself. Since then this party has been part of constitutional politics. Ideological politics is always prone to totalitarianism and to term totalitarianism left or right makes little sense since this distinction makes no difference at all here – they resemble each other too much. The left-right divide did have some sense in constitutional politics though. It was devised in France and finally used in a majority of western European countries. In its original meaning, left referred to the opposition party, whereas the right was the party of the establishment. But given that today we do not have that kind of party system – both major parties tend to belong to the establishment – the division is no longer useful. In this text I will define nationalism as an ideology and I will clarify the conventional understanding of the left and right divide. I will make a contrast between ideological politics and constitutional politics. I will show why in the former the left-right orientation is not helpful and I will also show why the latter was a useful political compass in the past but it is no longer the case. Finally, I will go back to the question of what’s left and what’s right in nationalism.

Nationalism as an Ideology The main idea I want to put forward in this text is that it does not make sense to pose the question Is nationalism left or right? I suggested already part of my answer but it is helpful to know first why for some authors this is, indeed, an important question. And what we find among those who argue that this question has some sense is that they consider this point crucial. For many of them, nationalism cannot be assessed in its own terms. It should be assessed in relation to something else: is it left, progressive? Or is it right, reactionary? If we find that if a given nationalism can qualify as left, then it should be supported. But if it is of the right, then it should be contained or fought. This perception of the value of nationalism is part of the common creed of nineteenth century progressivism. We can find this idea in John Stuart Mill celebrating Italian unification while recommending the assimilation of the European minorities in the name of progress. We can find the same in Marx when he celebrates the conquest by the USA of almost half of Mexico’s national territory, again for the sake of progress. But this common stance in past

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progressivism is no longer hegemonic although it is still present. For instance, the Marxist historian Eric J. Hobsbawm maintains a different position on this issue than is shared by many contemporary progressives: the time of supporting nationalism has already passed. In his words, “In short, in the classic Wilsonian-Leninist form, the slogan of selfdetermination up to and including secession as a general programme can offer no solution for the twenty-first century. It can be best understood as a symptom of the crisis of the nineteenth-century concept of the “nationstate”, caught between what The Economist has called “supranationalism” and “infranationalism”. But the crisis of the large nation-state is also the crisis of small ones, old or new” (Hobsbawm, 1999: 186-187). For Hobsbawm and for many contemporary cosmopolitans nationalism is no longer good today. But it is bad not because it is an ideology but for another reason: for them, progress is today beyond the nation state. Thus, for Hobsbawm we live in a post-national time. Thus, nationalism is reactionary. But this was not the case in the past. Nationalism was the ideology that accompanied the making of nation states, the political platform to develop national capitalism. Our time, though, is no longer that of national capitalism, but of world capitalism, which we refer to with the fashionable word “globalization”. So nationalism, as an ideology, is already outdated, it is part of a past that has passed for good. As mentioned, we are now in a time not of nationalism but of supranationalism and, at the same time, of infranationalism. For Hobsbawm supranationalism is in line with progress but infranationalism is understood as the mobilization of resistance against globalization. Thus, for Hobsbawm the small nations’ nationalism that we are witnessing in the west is a reactionary force, and cannot be equated with the left. For Hobsbawm the leftist promise of deliberation can be found not in nationalist resistance but in global action. But others, sharing the same Marxist premises as Hobsbawm, still prefer to stay loyal to the Leninist understanding of the nature of nationalism. This is something that Hobsbawm really hates: “no serious historian of nations and nationalism can be a committed political nationalist (...) Nationalism requires too much belief in what is patently not so” (Hobsbawm, 1999: 12). As I have said, Lenin had a different opinion on the value of nationalism in the realization of human deliverance. To him multi-national states are plainly incongruent with modern societies. And the reason he offers to sustain this strong statement is that multinational societies block the development of a proper capitalist market. In his view, capitalism is able to develop only if there is a linguistic medium that permits full and fast communication: a single

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language of culture. So in order to have this homogeneous cultural society that permits full-fledged capitalism, self-determination of nations – linguistic groups – is necessary. Thus, to him, many nationalist movements are good because they permit socio-economic progress. In a nutshell, they are good because they create the cultural and political preconditions of capitalist development. But for Lenin there is also a bad version of nationalism: the nationalism of dominant nations that block the development of weaker national communities. This national domination is called imperialism and what is typical of empires is, precisely, a multinational population enslaved by despotism and backwardness. Thus, contrary to Marx and contrary to Hobsbawm, Lenin states that imperialism is a bad form of nationalism. Imperialism is the reactionary and rightist nationalism that should be fought. This is the reason that Lenin gave in his defence of selfdetermination. But it should be said that Lenin introduces an important qualification in his theory: its scope is limited to the East, because the countries of the West have, according to him, already developed national capitalism. Interestingly, this qualification was not heard by many nationalist groups in the west that defined their projects of secession as “national liberation movements”, exactly like the independentist movements that fought western imperialism in Africa and in other places after World War II. Thus, according to Lenin, dominated nations’ nationalism is good whereas dominant nations’ nationalism is bad. The crucial point here is to make the correct diagnosis, and that is not easy. For some, like Marx, the most advanced nations have a duty to incorporate backward peoples in order to make them develop. But Lenin disagrees: they do not need compulsory development, they need national self-determination. If they get that, they will have capitalism. So, who are the progressives and who are the reactionaries? Who are left nationalists and who are right nationalists? Note that in principle nationalism is an ideology of the bourgeoisie, not of the proletariat. In fact, nationalism should be the ideology of the bourgeoisie in order to perform the scheduled duty as a motor of progress. The proletarians, as stressed by Marx and Engels in the Manifesto of the Communist Party have no fatherland, and they should support all forces of progress in their national struggles. In other words, they should support capitalist nationalists in order to push forward progress in order to achieve social transformation. But at the same time, they should oppose the narrowness and idiocy of peasant nationalism for being a reactionary movement aimed at the preservation of traditional society. As already seen, for all these authors

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capitalism is good in the sense that it melts in the air all traditions and cultures. Thus, for Marxists it is important to know when nationalism is left or right. But what happens when a given bourgeoisie refuses to deploy the nationalist ideology? In other words, what happens when the bourgeoisie has no national project aimed at the creation of a national market economy? The political thinker and communist militant Antonio Gramsci offers one answer. As he stated in his work The southern question, when the above conditions are in place, the proletariat needs to be at the same time the national and the international class. Thus under certain circumstances, the proletarians can be nationalist. Then, as we have seen, it is through Lenin and Gramsci that nationalism is converted in a left ideology. On the other hand, for both Marx and Hobsbawm, nationalism was necessary in order to create the conditions for capitalist development but its positive role was confined to the destruction of traditional society. They can say, at most, that nationalism can be progressive in certain circumstances, but it is not of the left. The left, for them, was internationalist. To sum up this section, for these authors, progress is the yardstick that marks nationalism as left or right. And given that the path to progress is not always easy to find, there is much confusion regarding nationalism. In my view, this Marxist teleology resembles too much a secular religion, that is, a set of beliefs that under changing circumstances takes a new form in order to be always verified and never falsified. The result of this conduct is a too flexible stance that accommodates all particular needs but gives little enlightenment. Another Marxist historian, Benedict Anderson, in his much acclaimed and criticized book, Imagined Communities, suggested that in order to avoid the paradoxes of nationalism it should be understood not as a political ideology but as a cultural device. What was paradoxical to Anderson in nationalism was its capacity to be applicable to socialist societies like Vietnam, Cambodia and China. The paradox was, in a nutshell, that nationalism survived capitalist societies and was alive and well in the world of socialism. Even to the point of being able to trigger war between socialist states. Instead of persisting in trying to accommodate reality to the doctrine, my proposal is to get rid of the Marxian concept of ideology, and of nationalism as an ideology in the Marxist sense. What I propose, on the contrary, is to see nationalism as an ideology but not in the sense of superstructure legitimating class domination, but in a different sense: as a set of ideas and beliefs that inform political action by providing an abstract model to be followed. In

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this sense, the core idea of nationalism is that a nation can be determined according to objective data and that nations have a pre-political nature. From this pre-political definition of the nation follow certain implications: criteria to determine the proper limits of the political community, criteria as to who is allowed to govern that community, and others. Nationalism is an ideology because it provides a blueprint of a perfect society, of a society free of many of the malaises of modernity: identity conflicts, uncertainty over past and future, contingency and dissatisfaction. It provides communal comfort, sense of belonging, security over past and future, immortality through collective identification.

The Left and Right Divide in Constitutional Politics Constitutional politics is politics as usual: democratic politics under the constitutional frame of accepted rules and protected rights. Elie Kedourie, the stubborn critic of nationalism contrasted in an illuminating way the differences between constitutional politics and ideological politics: “I have described nationalism as an ideology. In doing so, I mean to contrast it with constitutional politics. In constitutional politics the object in view it to attend the common concerns of a particular society, to safeguard it against foreign assaults, to mediate disagreements and conflicts between various groups through political institutions, through legislation and the administration of justice, and to uphold the law as being above and beyond sectional interests however important. Ideological politics is very different. Such a politics is concerned to establish a state of affairs in society and state such that everyone, as they say in old-fashioned novels, will live happily ever after. To do so, the ideologist (…) look upon state and society as a canvas which has to be wiped clean, so that his vision of justice, virtue and happiness can be painted on this tabula rasa” (Kedourie, 1994: xiii-xiv). As already seen there is no space for politics in ideological politics and thus the left-and-right divide that is a proxy of a compass in political action has no sense. This compass works in the world of politics but not in the realm of ideology. It is only in the context of liberal democracy that the great divide makes sense and has a proper role. It helps to perform agenda setting, public deliberation, public discussion, political identification, political mobilization and many other functions of the democratic political game. But it seems that this left-right compass is no longer operating properly in liberal democracies. Let me illuminate this idea with a telling story. Shortly before his death, on November 5th 1997, Isaiah Berlin received a

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letter from the then Prime Minister Tony Blair. Blair seemed to be very concerned about something that Berlin had declared five years before on the future of the Left: “you seem to be saying in the interview that because traditional socialism no longer exists, there is no Left. But surely the Left over the last 200 years has been based on a value system. Predating the soviet model and living on beyond it. As you say, the origins of the Left lie in opposition to arbitrary authority, intolerance and hierarchy. The values remain as strong as ever, but no longer have a readymade vehicle to take them forward (...) But there remains action, too, to devolve political power and to build a more egalitarian community. So reconstruction, yes, but the end no!” (Blair, 1997). It is somewhat amusing that the same Tony Blair that tried to go beyond left and right by defining his party as New Labour wanted to retain the old left and right division in discussion with Berlin. In fact, Blair went so far in the reform of his party that he eliminated the goal of socialism from the party statutes. He abolished clause 4, which maintained the commitment of the Labour party to the creation of a socialist society and went so far as to vindicate the liberal origins of the Labour party by remembering the old covenant between the trade unions and the old party before the foundation of Labour. In fact Blair defined his political project as “radical centrism” – a way not only to play with words but to go beyond left and right. He also termed his political project as a “Third way” between the old and dead socialism and the alive and socially disruptive “New Right”. Again, this signals another attempt to go beyond left and right. And he succeeded: he is presented by his enemies as a traitor to socialism; as a neoliberal; but also, as a neoconservative. Is New Labour left or right? Or better, what’s left of the Third Way? Frankly, I don’t know.

What’s Left and What’s Right in Nationalism In this text I have tried to show that asking about the position of nationalism in the political spectrum is a misguided question. It is also a wrong and dangerous question because it bring us confusion. By trying to find out if a nationalist movement is right or is left we put our political expectations on the track of old Leninism. And by doing this we skip politics and enter in the realm of ideology. As I had said before, ideological politics does not line up with democratic or constitutional politics. On the contrary, ideological politics make us blind to the limits of political action in order to dismiss the necessity of political arrangements able to deal with social conflict. It also destroys the main limit to public action – individual freedom – in the name of an abstract group: a class or a

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nation. Ideological politics is anti-political, it neglects individual freedom and the value of institutional arrangements in the name of a preconceived ideal. Bloodshed is the effect of the deployment of this ideal. According to Lenin we can discriminate between good and bad nationalism. The communists, who understood themselves as the vanguard of progress, should support left nationalism against right, reactionary, nationalism. Of course, as always happens with Lenin there was a good deal of opportunism in this statement and his very political decisions when head of the Soviet Union showed cynicism and mere tactics. But the reasons he gave to justify this support to nationalism are still with us, often voiced by bloody nationalist-terrorist groups: in order to reach the great utopia of communism, all societies should pass through a capitalistnational stage. Thus, if we want to arrive to communism we should let nationalism flourish. Although Lenin can be seen as a somewhat heretical Marxist, in this point he remains faithful to his master. It is the Marxian teleology of progress through suffering to achieve deliverance what lies behind the defence of nationalism. It is this teleology that sanctifies evil means in the name of the moral purity of the goal to be achieved. According to this view, nationalism forms part of the ideology of the bourgeoisie that has the historical mission of developing capitalism. In Lenin’s words the historical task of this class is to create national capitalism and in order to have national capitalism it is compulsory to have congruence between a State and a population sharing the same language. In his understanding, a State composed of different language groups is a multinational state which, as a matter of principle, is inadequate to develop capitalism. Capitalism demands linguistic homogeneity so, if we want to push forward progress, we face two options: national self-determination or compulsory linguistic homogenization of the population. This last option can be adequate if it is developed in a progressive sense, but can be also used by imperialism and by the reactionaries. It is progressive when the language group reflecting a superior stage of social development assimilates a backward minority. Again, it is progress that lets us know the proper path of action when dealing with conflicts. There is no need for politics as bargaining and dealing in order to reach agreement when we know the truth of social progress. To sum up my argument, it is only in ideological politics that we can discriminate between left and right nationalism. But in order to do that we have to convert ourselves to the Marxian teleology of progress. Bury, in his seminal work on progress, pointed to the idea that this “illusion of finality (…) [of] Progress suggest that its value as a doctrine is only

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relative, corresponding to a certain not very advanced stage of civilization like Providence in the past” (Bury, 2006: 191). But, nonetheless, it is “in the name of Progress that the doctrinaires who established the present reign of terror in Russia [1920] profess to act” (Bury, 2006: preface). Given that this step can be problematic if we want to remain faithful to our intellectual independence, I have pointed in this text to the very fact that nationalism is an expression, among others, like Marxism, of ideological politics. Thus nationalism is neither left nor right. Nationalism is an ideology in itself that should be differentiated from other minor ideologies like étatisme or Republicanism. As mentioned before, in the clear and concise definition of Elie Kedourie, “Nationalism is a doctrine invented in Europe at the beginning of the nineteenth century. It pretends to supply a criterion for the determination of the unit of population proper to enjoy a government exclusively its own, for the legitimate exercise of power in the state, and for the right organization of a society of states. Briefly, the doctrine holds that humanity is naturally divided in nations, that nations are known by certain characteristics which can be ascertained, and that the only legitimate type of government is national government. Not the least triumph of this doctrine is that such propositions have become accepted and are thought to be self-evident” (Kedourie, 1994: 1). This legacy is what is left of nationalism, not a device of order and progress but an ideology for conflict that now is part of all of us. What is left of nationalism is an ideology understood as a political blueprint of a reconciled society, that by confronting the reality of modern societies, promises violence and conflict. But there is something right in nationalism that explains its success. Nationalism is right in addressing a need of belonging, a sense of community, that seems to be a human universal. In western secularized societies this need of belonging is more acute and thus nationalism can be activated at any moment.

References Blair, Tony (1997), “A letter to Isaiah Berlin”, 23 October, in http://berlin.wolf.ox.ac.uk/letterstoberlin.html Bury, J.B. (2006), The idea of Progress. An Inquiry into its Origin and Growth, Teddington: The Echo Library. Hobsbawm, E. J. (1999), Nations and Nationalism since 1780. Programme, Myth, Reality, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kedourie, E. (1994), Nationalism, Oxford: Blackwell.

WHICH IDEOLOGIES ARE CANONICAL AND WHICH ARE BLACK AND WHITE? A MATERIALIST AND NON ESSENTIALIST APPROACH TO IDEOLOGIES ANTÓNIO ROSAS1 AND JOÃO RELVÃO CAETANO2

“An unideological person is simply one who has sadly passed away” —Michael Freeden, “Confronting the Chimera of a 'Post' Ideological Age” “We seek to rediscover and reclaim the world (…) We have no clear idea how life should really feel” —Communiqué 1, Tidal, Occupy Wall Street

Introduction Although just some decades ago many political and social scientists predicted the end of ideologies, these are not vanishing, they got more diverse and, in some cases, more virulent and appellative3. Ideological creativity and visibility are springing, although not from all quadrants of political action. Without endorsing any form of determinism, it must be said that conventional understandings of what ideologies are and how they work began coming to an end under the impulse of three new phenomena, two exclusively political and a thirdmore technologically minded: the spread and salience of international and non-governmental organizations, the increased importance of social movements for political participation

 1

Tutor at Open University, Lisbon. Assistant Professor at Open University, Lisbon. 3 Seymour M. Lipset Consensus and Conflict (1985) continues to offer one of the most interesting and useful appraisals of the so called “End of Ideologies Debate”. 2

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and opposition, and the use of ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) as new tactics for political action. In the following lines we will focus exclusively on the last two. Beginning in the 50´s and the 60´s, non-institutional politics began to rise to prominence, at least in the West, for political contention, both in national and even international politics. By favoring the institutional fragmentation of traditional loci of political action, social movements paved the way for two important and intermingled phenomena. Firstly, they vigorously propelled the “rebirth” of political ideologies in the wave of the decay of traditional economic cleavages at the base of the traditional “left” and the “right” divide (Inglehart, 1977; Inglehart, 1990); secondly, they attracted fresh and unprecedented attention to the social and dialogical processes that were at the heart of ideological production, distribution and reception. In fact, ideological creativity carried out through political participation and organizational flexibility, presented researchers with new and surprising insights on what ideologies are and how they function in the real world; particularly on how they harbor multiple sources and visions, and on how they end up with new ideological variants. Our first contention in this essay is thus that although social modernization, particularly in the West, contributed to the waning and to the questioning of the traditional left and right divide based on class and economic cleavages, the appearance of new forms of non-conventional politics helped in accelerating those trends, setting in motion a new era of ideological creativity and favoring new insights in the study of ideologies that would benefit further from the arrival of the Internet and digitally mediated politics. ICTs, and particularly the Internet and Internet enabled technologies, soon proved to be, in fact, extremely well suited not only for network organizing and collective action but also for ideological production, distribution and consumption, both in democratic and non-democratic regimes. In fact, even in autocratic countries, like Tunisia and Egypt, to name just these, oppositional and revolutionary digital activists were critical in spreading new understandings of democracy thatwere decisive during the uprisings of 2011 and the beginnings of the “Arab Spring”. Their position as credible bloggers, both nationally and in transnational networks, proved to be an important factor in the making of the ideological consensus that resisted the hegemonic ideologies of the Stateand mobilized citizens around alternatives (Rosas, 2011; Rosas, 2012;

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see also Espírito Santo et al., 2012)4. Moreover, in democratic regimes, new social movements, like Occupy Wall Street, were also instrumental in updating civil society politics and politicizing national and global issues, this time as agents for democratic reforms and perfectionnement. In this essay, the authors argue that digital activism is, and will continue to be, increasingly responsible for the fundamental changes that are pervading the cultural world of ideological making, distribution and consumption in the contemporary world. Extensive political enfranchisement and sweeping technological advances in communications meansthat more and more political actors are able to produce, distribute and consume political ideologies, as proselytes, audiences and allies can be reached not only locally, but nationally or even globally at extremely low costs. Consequently, we will concentrate here our efforts on digital activism forms of ideological production, while adopting a view of political cultures and ideologies, as socially produced ideational and symbolic resources aimed at political action, that are not independent of social interaction and of what Michael Mann calls power networks (1986-1993; see also Rosas and Máiz, 2008, for a materialist account of political cultures and cultural phenomena). As narratives and bundles of meanings accompanying practices, organizations and institutions, ideologies are always in a process of reinterpretation and change through social interaction and, particularly, through dialogical dynamics, where organizational networks and asymmetric power relations are potentially all-pervading and critical components. The notion of an end of a Weberian era of Wertrationalität, and the beginning of a new era of Zweckrationalität (Lipset, 1985), thus expressed a naïve conception of societies and of its all-pervading power networks and organizations that had an immenselynegative effect on scholars and intellectuals, asideologies were associated with irrationality and emotional manipulation, ingredients that should be eradicated through dialogical consensus or class consciousness. Camus, for example, saw the socialist ethos as the turning point of a non-ideological age, while a political scientist like Giovanni Sartori tried the impossible leap of definitely burying theseirrational and rigid patterns of political thought legated by

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We must not forget that most of contemporary Arab activists and leaders of offline social movements were bloggers or media activists. “Arab blogs emerged in 2003 in Iraq, but it wasnot until 2005 that they became central to social movements. Although bloggers emerged as keyleaders in social movements throughout the Arab world, Egypt was the country where bloggers mostsuccessfully made demands on the government and campaigned for social justice, across ideological divides” (Radsch, 2011: 61).

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the past. In this essay, the authors will adopt a materialist perspective on political cultures and ideologies (Althusser, 1972; Mann, 1986-1993; Rosas and Máiz, 2008), in order to understand how these new ideologies are emerging and recreating themselves along new offline and online organizational contexts. Two contemporary ideologies will be used to illustrate our work: Hindutva and Occupy Wall Street. Although these two movements must be conceptualized as offline movements supplemented by digital action, or “e-mobilizations”, they both endorse a strong digital component, especially in the case of Occupy. Using web mining techniques and social movement literature on framing processes and ideological production (Benford and Snow, 2000; Snow and Byrd, 2007), the authors will examine how these movements are networking online and how their messages use different sources to propose new ideological articulations and elaborations. The organization of this essay will be as follows. In the next section we will deal primarily with the new ideological ecology, where citizens and sub-elites compete with Governments, political parties, mainstream media and other national and international actors, in the production, distribution and consumption of political ideologies, mainly through ICTs and Internet enabled technologies like Facebook, Twitter or You Tube. The presentation and a brief discussionof Hindutva and Occupy Wall Street (OWS) ideologies will be set on the following two sections, before offering some concluding remarks and prospects for future research.

Great Authors and Texts In an era that we could call the modern “canonical phase” of ideological production, distribution and consumption, an era that reached its peak in the XIX century and during the Cold War, political ideologies were generally associated with books and authors. First rank authors like John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Lenin, Stalin or Mao Tse-tung, almost exhausted the ideological debate, serving as references for political action, both in national and in international terms. Although some variants existed and were put in place, like the Pol Pot´s Khmer Rouge ideological experience in Cambodia, Kim Jong-il very personal version of Stalinism in North Korea, or Baas version of Western Socialism and nationalist anticolonialism in Iraq, these were generally a few in number and were generally interpreted, except by their intended audiences, of course, as second order elaborations, or derivations, of the canonical texts. Briefly said, a relatively small group of authors and texts, like Marx’ The Capital and The Communist Manifest, Stuart Mill´s On Liberty, Lenin´s version of

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Bolshevism, or Stalinism, almost completely exhausted the range of the ideological debate together with the economies of indoctrination during relatively long periods of time and over extensive populations and classes. Undoubtedly, this “canonical” era expressed a peculiar vision of ideologies as bundles of cultural meanings directed to political action in both dichotomic and essentialist terms. Modern dichotomic thinking (right/left, moderate left/moderate right, secular/confessional, etc.), can be traced back to the origins of mass democracy and was later popularized and reinterpreted during the Cold War. The bourgeois/proletarian infrastructural dichotomy was transformed in two global ideologies demarcating capitalism from communism, or the Western way of life from the Non-Western Way of Life. Essentialist thinking, on the other hand (the notion that ideologies are fully formed and final products pre-existing political and social action or pulled out from an “inventory” to be used by actors), goes back to early modern political though and the ways ideologies were socially produced, distributed and consumed during the XVIII and the XIX centuries. Great authors, like John Stuart Mill or Karl Marx, were clearly associated with their written works, while these were appropriated as doctrines and ambitious social programs by clearly defined (and relatively small) elites, like members of the bourgeois clubs, social reformers or party elites. This first modern understanding of ideologies, which was profoundly idealist about its nature and origins, had several normative, empirical and analytical consequences, not just for their study, but also for political action. On the normative side, ideologies were predominantly conflated with some texts and other grand narratives, as closed, demarcated and relatively stable bundles of ideas and concepts, while any deviation from that model was treated as secondary, minor, marginal, or simply not studied. On the empirical side, ideologies were studied basically as semantic constructs or behavioral data, while social and dialogical processes, where power relations unfolded, were largely ignored. This was so because ideological production, distribution and consumption were seen as centered on some political actors, like the State or political parties, as hegemonic carriers of doctrines. Analytically, ideologies were envisaged as closed and final systems of thought situated apart from social action but determining it. One consequence of these tendencies was the fact that the overall tone or orientation of those works determined their ideological position on a simplified left and right continuum, largely ignoring the fact that ideological content was always contaminated and open to different perspectives. In fact, even for a distant observer, it will be not difficult to see that there is functional elitism in Marxism, as there is collective and

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communal components in liberalism, even in its more secularist outlooks (Indian secularism, for instance). It must be said at this point that both political theory and political philosophy helped propagate this view of political ideologies in two ways: by focusing on texts, mainly on some great authors, and on adopting implicitly a Weberian conception of agency that envisaged political actors as perfect vehicles of ideologies, while the masses were their passive and complying audiences. Political actors, be them political parties or State apparatuses, were then envisaged as the most relevant links between “canonical” authors and the masses, be those the proletarian classes or the anonymous citizens of representative liberal democracies. Even a scholar as deeply embroiled with texts and authors like Michael Freeden, is ready to acknowledge that “mass media, social movements andnetworks, and popular political language have disseminated new vehicles and forms of ideology” (Freeden, 2005: 247). Although Freeden’ intuitions, centered on his discussion of that tremendous “masking device” called the “post-ideological” age, don´t include digital activism, or the contemporary digital transformations of political action, he was one of the first authors to acknowledge the profound ecological transformations undergone by ideologies at the end of the twentieth century. Moreover, as Freeden rightly pointed out, these new ideological variants and configurations, together with their modes of production, distribution and reception – we would like to add –, will be increasingly hard to detect and study using available grand theories, like post-Marxism (not excluding its Ideologiekritik variant), behaviorism or post-structuralism. Their study calls for new approaches and techniques. As he further stressed: “perhaps the most striking fact about the way we handle contemporary ideologies is that so few academics areengaged in developing new methodologies aimed at responding to the changes thatideologies have been undergoing” (Freeden, 2005: 249). In this essay, the authors contend that a new modeof political action, digital activism, will continue to be largely responsible for the fundamental changes that are pervading ideological making, distribution and consumption in the contemporary world, where more and more international and transnational organizations, social movements, and informal networks of activists and citizens, use the Internet and Internet enabled technologies to send their messages and organize ideological consensus and mobilization around common interests. A more visible and materialized ideological ecology, where dichotomic and essentialist categories are vanishing from our worldviews, institutions and social practices is not something that everybody is ready to acknowledge and accept. Viewed from the microscope of digital and other

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modes of non-conventional action, ideologies can be more elusive and frustrating than ever. In fact, the notion prevailing in many quadrants of the field is that social movements don´t produce real ideologies but mere second order “thin ideologies”. This is even more surprising when some of this ideological emasculation of social movements, not to mention their digital extensions or organizational solutions, comes from first rank scholars like Sidney Tarrow. For Tarrow, global activism is “unlikely to sustain high levels of confidence in government and may trigger less trusting attitudes in the public by demonstrating the inadequacy of governmental performance; but on the other hand, neither do they create enduring negative subcultures. Their variform and shifting organizations, their tendency to produce rapid and rapidly-liquidated coalitions, their focus on short- and medium-term issues rather than fully fledged ideologies do not produce standing activist commitments or deeply held loyalties” (Tarrow, 1999: 30). Viewing collective action frames solely as issues, instead of new ideological outputs, or as second order problematizations, is thus an additional problem coming from the canonical age, a problem that impedes us to understand why collective frames mobilize people and, especially, how they relate to “proper ideologies”. In this essay, the authors will follow Snow and Byrd contention that “framing processes” are “the key discursive mechanism through which ideas, beliefs, and values – the stuff of ideology – and various social events are strategically linked together in a fashion that facilitates the mobilization or support of targeted constituents and even bystanders” (Snow and Byrd, 2007: 132; see particularly Benford and Snow, 2000 for a seminal presentation of the social movement literature related to framing). Frames, and more particularly, collective action frames, are, thus, not only deeply embroiled and associated with ideologies – they are their more visible manifestations and largely explaining how they change and have a grasp on the world. As derivations and constituents of ideologies trough elaboration and articulation of dialogical processes5, framing processes are symbolic and ideational resources that are always open to change through social interaction, and that are not independent of their more material counterparts, like organizational apparatuses or more informal networks. In metaphysical parlance, ideologies and collective action frames are thus

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According to Snow and Byrd (2007), “(f)rame articulation involves the connection and alignment of events, experience, and strands of moral codes so that they hang together in a relatively unified and compelling way”, while frame elaboration “involves accenting and highlighting some events, issues, or beliefs as being more important than others”.

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two different modes of the same substance. As we live now in mode two, in a new mode of ideological production, we will be able to leverage a more complete and comprehensive perspective on what ideologies really are and how they function in the real world.

Progressive Imperialism or Conservative Nationalism? Radical or cultural Hindu nationalism is not a novelty in India or even a new variant of the ideological spring that accompanied the post-second world war years or digital activism emergence. It existed for many time before India´s independence in 1947, primarily as an extremely efficacious anti-colonial doctrine of national independence, and even before it rose to the status of State ideology at the hands of the BJP party (see, for instance, Jaffrelot, 2007). Although its activation as a Government and electoral platform, both at the center and in local state governments, was far from being internally consensual and externally moderate (see for instance the recent radicalization of the movement in BJP – Bharatiya Janata Party, http://www.bjp.org/ – state governed Karnataka at http://bit.ly/AnyVFo), Hindutva further radicalized its messages with the arrival of the Internet. Freed from the constraints of party and Government politics, and at ease in a new environment where control over content is difficult and increasing audiences can be reached with extreme low costs, Hindu cultural nationalism soon fragmented in a plethora of versions and outlets that combined old and ulterior elements of the doctrine, sometimes even maximizing some of the paradoxes and contradictions of its ideational roots. In this section we will try to identify and examine the digital signatures and messages of one of the most radical and populist online versions of the Hindutva ideology: hiduunnity.org. Our goal will be to scrape the Hindu Unity site with two purposes in mind: to identify its online connections, and to see how Hindutva is reinterpreted in this popular website. The first route will lead us to a map of connections and organizations; the second, to a corpus of texts expressing hypothetically new elaborations and articulations of the Hindutva ideology, where old themes are blended with new ones, the old ideological spectrum cedes under new creative impulses, progress and tradition coexist, or left postcolonial progressive thinking joins racism, xenophobia and radical expressions of cultural nationalism. Hinduunity.org is the official site of the Bajrang Dal, VHP youth wing. The VHP (Vishva Hindu Parishad) was founded in1964 in order to “organise - consolidate the Hindu society and to serve - protect the Hindu Dharma” (see VHP page at http://vhp.org/). As VHP youth wing, Bajrang

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Dal is a relevant institutional component of VHP´s organizational network and an important component of it in the realm of proselytizing and propaganda, especially on the lower levels of Indian society. Officially aimed at helping eradicate Indian social and economic endemic evils, like untouchability or poorness, VHP, one of the main organizations of the Sangh Parivar (http://www.sanghparivar.org/), or what we would call the non-institutional or the grassroots component of Hindutva, is also concerned with the task of increasing the “expression of Hindu pride & unity in the society” and produce “the voluntary home-coming or ‘Paravartan’” of all hindus to “their original Hindu Dharma” (see http://vhp.org/swagatam). Using web mining and link analysis, we identified the first ring of connections of the Hinduunity.orgpage. These are the most proximate pages connecting to that page (inbound links), plus those that are connected by it (outbound links). Using this first batch of scraped pages, we detected some organizations that are clearly associated with what we would call the “virtual Hindutva network”, or the digital networked extension of Hindutva organizations and cultural/ideological resources. Four organizations, in particular, are worth mentioning here: the Hindu Rashtra (http://www.hindurashtra.org), (inbound link), the VHP (http:// www.vhp.org/) (outbound), the RSS (http://www.rss.org/) (outbound link), and Shiv Sena (http://www.shivsena.org/) (outbound link). In this essay, we will focus on the microanalysis of frames (mental schemata by which experience is interpreted; see Johnston, 1995, Benford and Snow, 2000, for a seminal assessment of frames in the context of social movements) proposed by Hindu Unity6 and by a second organization that is not comprised in the network, the BJP. By adding the BJP site7 to our textual analysis, we intend to compare two non-institutional ideological configurations with an institutional one, in order to substantiate our methodological principle of never dissociating the analysis of ideological symbolic content from the organizational structure that carries it (Mann, 1986-1993; Althusser, 1972). Micro-analysis of texts and symbolic content will be achieved by examining the elaboration and articulation ideological processes that are at work during the three most important framing tasks of dialogical action: diagnostic framing, prognostic framing

 6

See http://www.webstatsdomain.com/domains/www.hinduunity.org/#mark_12 and http://whois.domaintools.com/hinduunity.org for some general statistics concerning the Hindu Unity site. 7 See http://www.webstatsdomain.com/domains/www.bjp.org/ for some general statistics on the BJP site.

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and motivational framing8. As we will see in our brief analysis, both Occupy and Hindu Unity, online texts propose different and sui generis articulations and elaborations of ideological content that are not independent of their structural and organizational supports (offline and digital) and that are irreducible to their common matrices. One of the most central texts condensing BJP´s version of Hindutva and cultural nationalism can be found in a small message that is available online in the party´s site (http://bit.ly/LT4u3L). The text is called Hindutva: The Great Nationalist Ideology and in the following paragraphs we will try to show how the crucial concepts of the nation, identity, sense of belonging and common territory, past and culture, are articulated and elaborated in this text through the core framing tasks that we enunciated. For the BJP, the awakening of the true Indian identity is a necessary step mainly because the oldest and more tolerant culture of the planet was successively threatened by all kinds of invaders. This is the main problem confronting Indian society and culture: colonial and foreign contamination, with all its consequences. Alien intolerant and abusive cultures and races led Indians to forget their true culture and identity while seeding violence and divisions in their society. Among the responsible for this situation were the barbarian Islamic hordes, Christian missionaries and Nehruvian communists and pseudo-secularists (framed as intolerant and ruthless invaders) who produced an intolerable alienated situation that can only be resolved through “true awakening” of all Indians around its great culture, religion, and their love for their ancestral nation, Bharat. Only through “true awakening”, will Indians be “really” Indians again, capable of showing to the world their tolerant customs and spirit, alongside with their superior culture of universal unity. “The future of Bharat is set. Hindutva is here to stay” says one of the slogans used in motivational framing, while two others proclaim: “The era of one-way compromise of Hindus is over, for from now on, secularism must mean that all parties must compromise” and “It is up to the government and the Muslim leadership whether they wish to increase Hindu furor or work with the Hindu leadership to show that Muslims and the government will consider Hindu sentiments”. While the most formally organized and civilized components of Indian society envisage nationalism as a legitimate and universal cultural awakening of Indian society that is not incompatible with modernity and Indian cultural leadership, Hindutva can assume more violent and

 8

This first batch of pagegroups comprised 199 nodes, ranging from personal blogs to some informative, religious and new media sites. For an exposition and an application of core framing tasks and ideological elaboration and articulation processes, see Rosas, 2012.

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intolerant versions in the context of bottom-up and populist organizations like Hindu Unity. In this respect, the Hindu Unity page “About us” (http:// bit.ly/MOiMWk) can be very elucidative, as it shows how cultural nationalism is elaborated and articulated by hinduunity.org and some of its partners of the non-institutional components of the Hindutva network. These are the loose networks of grassroots movements and organizations that compose a great deal of the strength of the Sangh Parivar and its ability to change slowly, in sustainable ways, Indian society from the bottom (see Jaffrelot and Therwath, 2007, for an interesting assessment of the diasporic components and how the Internet is facilitating its reach and ideological spread). Like in the BJP site, Hindus, their culture and homeland are also pictured as victims of several assaults. But, according to Hindu Unity, these can come from the hindus themselves, especially from those who “either falsely or for some ulterior motives believe that Hinduism can survive the onslaught in modern times as it has in the past”. For the radicals, it is not, thus, awakening that is important – what must be done, immediately, is to salvage Hinduism from itself, as the “very survival of Hinduism is at risk”. Hindu Unity then calls all hindus to unite in order to save Hinduism, no matter the means and whatever it costs, because “the honor and the interests of Hindus will be protected in every manner”. This type of dramatization of the “contamination issue” lends itself to a picture of the hindus as an abandoned and decadent people, “powerless, helpless and orphaned in its own country”. This situation can be reversed if the establishment is forced by political action coming from bellow to accept a new policy gearing towards indoctrination and new laws that establish real equalities and that put an end to secular injustices. More than a call, or a negotiation (under a veiled threat), as it was the case with the BJP message, Hindu Unity dramatically appeals to a superior and inescapable mission – to the salvation of Hinduism, implemented this time by a genuine national program of ethnical mobilization that is fueled from the popular components of society, controlled by the grassroots and socially implemented at all costs. As we can see, the restoration of the pristine and universal Indian culture is not the main objective for the more radical fringes of the Hindutva movement. Instead, it is the grave economic and political situation of the Hindus that is important and in need of being urgently solved; objective deprivations, more than the restoration of a proud modern Nation under a universal culture, must be addressed, and through all means, including purging traitors and pseudo-nationalists in its own ranks and putatively elsewhere. As a result, the same basic ingredients of

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Hindutva ideology, forged during the anti-colonial struggles and Indian independence, like ethnic unity and purity, are now discursively articulated and elaborated in different ways by the two organizations, one markedly vertical, middle class and urban based, mainly designed for electoral competition, and the other horizontal, mainly informal, and destined to mobilize the fringes of society, be them in the homeland or abroad; one, not discarding progressive elements (like science, technology and Hindu continued relevance as a metaphysical vision of the world), the other upgrading anti-colonial tactics and hate, as weapons against new forms of colonialism, like Western imported secularism, or internal enemies.

Occupy´s Mission as a Grand Narrative Probably Occupy Wall Street (OWS from now on, see http://occupy wallst.org/) will be regarded in the future as one of the most original social movements of the last decades and this at least for two reasons: because of its programmatic and ideological ambitions and of its organizational and functional simplicity, both offline and online. In fact, it is not every day that the demos protests not against some national Government, or a multinational corporation, but against a whole economic system and its entrenched ideology. It is functionally simple, because the global movement uses Internet enabled technologies mainly to promote “emobilizations” (Earl and Kimport, 2011) and to organize offline on the basis of very simple and pragmatic principles and tactics. Over the next lines we will offer some preliminary insights on OWS, focusing mainly on its organizational online structure and ideology. Occupy Wall Street is one of several political campaigns created by Adbusters, a Vancouver foundation specialized in advertising and political communication9. Organizationally, the movement defines itself as a “leaderless resistance” and decentered movement that uses Tahrir Square and Puerta del Sol tactics (“acampadas”, or people assemblies), in conjunction with Web 2.0 technologies,to mobilize all discontents (the 99%) with the capitalist status quo and the prevailing neo-liberal order, independently of their credo, race or country. From our perspective, OWS is clearly a global social movement structured as decentralized hybrid

 9

The “culture jammers” network, as it is named, was created during the September 17th Wall Street protests, in New York (the first site of the OWS campaign is http://occupy-wall-street.com/), and is now proud to be a “90,000+ strong global network of activists, cultural creative’s and meme insurgents – a revolutionary force that, with your active involvement, just might reshape how power and meaning flow in the 21st century”.

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organizations10 that even at the grassroots level are ultimately run by experienced and semi-professional activists. Leaderless movements are not necessarily democratic, the same being truth regarding decentralization. Some European and American far-right groupuscles (like European Hammerskins or American Patriot militias), as well as many “dark networks” (terrorist and criminal organizations), are leaderless movements, while decentralization is not uncommon in many of these, as it can preserve the organization efficacy even when some of its parts are destroyed or rendered non-operational. In OWS case, its main originality, thus, comes from its ideological aggiornamento and scope, and how Web 2.0 technologies and autonomous groupuscles are deployed under a strategy that we can probably describe as political franchising – Adbusters creates campaigns that are open to democratic and popular participation and adaptation at any point of the horizontal chain. In this case, the Internet is used to help implement not only a decentered and autonomous pluralist network of activists, organized under a few tactical objectives, but also a transnational grid of platforms and technologies favoring ideological autonomy and creativity under very basic procedures and core ideological principles. In the remainder of this section we will pay special attention at OWS online network, before delivering some preliminary words on its overall ideology. In this respect, we will focus not on its theoretical foundations, as this would derail us from the objectives of this work, but on one, and only one, of its most interesting online ideological articulations and elaborations: as a grand narrative and a secular reinterpretation of the Edenic struggle between man (the demos) and the snake (late capitalism). If one tries to access and understand the movement´s online presence only through a site, we will beas frustrated as confused. Although http://occupywallst.org/ is the main page of the movement and of Adbusters´ campaign, even an experiencedvisitor must tour the main tents of the bazaar in order to grasp its initiatives and get updated. In other words, when we speak of OWS, we must take into account several sites that are crucial to the movement, some of them affiliated with it, others not.In fact, OWS is http://occupywallst.org/, but also http://occupytogether .org,http://occupy-wall-street.org, http://www.adbusters.org/, http://ows news.org/, http://interoccupy.org/, http://www.occupytogether.org/, or http://howtooccupy.org/, just to name some of the most important.

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This categorization is largely indebted to the seminal works by Bruce Bimber, Andrew Flanagin and Cynthia Stohl, particularly to their 2005 paper “Reconceptualizing collective action in the contemporary media environment”.

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Additionally, OWS is composed by a plethora of national and even local networks, likehttp://www.occupyoakland.org/, http://occupydenver.org/, http://occupydenhaag.org/, http://occupyseattle.org/ (as new fronts are constantly emerging, anecessarily non-exhaustive list can be accessed at http://occupystreams.org/). Finally, the movement uses social media, and especially Facebook and Twitter, to deliver news, coordinate initiatives, and organize major internal events (like popular assemblies) and some of its offline preferred tactics (marches and direct action initiatives, like occupations). One way of looking at Occupy is to study its online connections or OWS Internet´s organizational signature. As this is a complex and time consuming task, we will not attempt here to do a more complete assessment, our main purpose being to offer a preliminary snapshot of OWS digital network. To this end, we will only look for both incoming and outgoing links (connections) associated with http://occupywallst.org/ and with some sites that appear to be most directly related to it and to the movement. The final result is a subgraph populated by the seeds of the web crawl and the first ring composed by its connections. Although some major players can be isolated, a lot of leverage can be gained by just identifying the OWS sparse network hubs (“high-quality guides and resource lists that act as focused hubs, directing users to recommended authorities”) and authorities (“the most prominent sources of primary content”) (Kleinberg, 1998; Kleinberg, 1999). Regarding authorities, it is immediately apparent that the movement controls the most prominent pages of its proximate network. How to Occupy is, by far, the most prominent component of the network, being “conceived to promote and spread the methods, techniques and knowledge about peaceful occupation of public spaces while developing sustainable ways of living based on participatory democracy”. Aimed at creating a “universal and accessible database made up of documents related to peaceful civil disobedience and grassroots practices, spreading it physically and on-line to the very assemblies, occupations and groups around the whole world”, the whole platform ends up by being a king of reference to the whole movement, serving as an information and instructional channel for all national and local activists that want to join the movement. Occupy Together, on the other hand, is also very prominent, defining itself as “an independent group of activists working to help people learn how to get involved in #occupy in whatever way they find meaningful”. Consequently, Occupy Together is not affiliated with Adbusters (see http://occupywallst.org/about/), considering itself as an “affinity group”. A second aspect worth mentioning here is that

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Adbustersmain page isn’t the most prominent site in the network. This observation is congruent and reinforces our earlier contention regarding the horizontal, decentered and pluralistic profile of the movement. But even more interesting than knowing who are the “authorities” in the social network produced by OWS´ online presence is to identify the “hubs” of the network. If we were to give an opinion on who is working harder, in this moment, regarding OWS digital visibility, we would say that, generally speaking, some mainstream media are, and, especially, two lone riders - Big Government (http://biggovernment.com/) and The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/). They are the big pushers, so to say, in a network that is clearly dominated by the media: the City Room blog from the New York Times, The Nation, The New York Post, The Washington Post, American Globe, Fox News, CBS News, Huffington Post, Liberty News, Daily Mail, The Daily Activist, Daily Mail, or Reuters. As far as we can see, OWS and Adbusters are not short of admirers, especially in the press. But what is even more revealing is the fact that OWS´ sites attract the attention of both progressive and more conservative outlets, not to mention professional news agencies and public broadcasters that are putatively more “objective” and independent from third parties and other political actors A good starting point, in our opinion, to study OCW´ framing and ideological processes, is to visit http://occupytheory.org/.Occupy Theory is presented by Adbusters as the movement “philosophical insights” site. In the remaining lines, we will look closely at one extract from Tidal, one of the most important, if not the most important, online publication that is directly related to the movement. In the first article of the inaugural issue of Tidal, we come across a brief extract that is particularly revealing due to its symbolic richness and imaginary scope. It describes, in a biblical tone that evokes the Exodus, its modern version of the American Frontier, and the Edenic Fall, an agonizing world that is coming to an end under the liberating power of the demos. It reads as follows: “We have come to Wall Street as refugees from this native dreamland, seeking asylum in the actual. That is what we seek to occupy. We seek to rediscover and reclaim the world. Many believe we have come to Wall Street to transact some kind of business with its denizens, to strike a deal. But we have not come to negotiate. We have come to confront the darkness at its source, here, where the Big Apple sucks in more of the sap from the national tree than it needs or deserves, as if spliced from some Edenic forbearer. Serpent size worms feast within, engorged on swollen fruit. Here, the world is chewed and digested into bits

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as tiny and fluid as the electrons that traders use to bring nations and homeowners to their knees” (Communiqué 1, Tidal #1). This is how Occupy activists present their movement to the world: as a modern saga between the good and evil, between, this time, capitalism (its structural darkness and serpent size worms) and the demos. Furthermore, this saga is presented in the whole text as a special and necessary moment of promised and liberated fruition and innocence. We could obviously transpose this extract and the text in which it is inscribed in philosophical terms. As we know, OWS is greatly influenced by some of the most important New Left intellectuals and scholars, like Judith Butler (who writes for Tidal) or Slavoj Zizek. But, as we said earlier, our intent here is to examine dialogical processes directly related to political action and specifically how the movement constructs its ideological credo using the Internet. As so, we cannot be more surprised that a laic and contemporary movement that intends to subvert everyday politics, begins by using a proto-religious language to describe its mission; or why it confounds demos with the nation, which is a very problematic and divisive concept, unless it should be also understood at the symbolicreligious level. As far as we can see, the main goal of the movement is ontological and existential, rather than strictly political. Tactics and politics are used to “rediscover and reclaim the world” and the self (see the second part of the epigraph, excerpted from Communiqué 1), not to spread anarchy or change political regimes by force. The movement aspires to express a new level of politics and to transform social structures and institutions in the late capitalist age, where class dominations are less visible and cultural hegemony assumes new forms; but, even more important, is the motivating jouissance associated with the possibility of a new existence and a new meaning to collective and individual lives. This is why, in our view, OWS mission deserves to be mythically equated. Because OWS pretends to be a total movement in the full meaning of the word, as the demos (the famous 99%), once again, can try to rediscover its true relationship with the world, transform individuals and regain Edenic peace and innocence. In the conclusion of States and Social Revolutions, Theda Skocpol writes the following, after caution us to the speculative nature of what she intends to say: “If a social revolution were to transform an advanced industrial nation, it would, I can only suppose, have to take a very different form, and occur under quite different international conditions, from the great historical social revolutions. Because it seems highly unlikely that modern states could disintegrate as administrative-coercive organizations

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without destroying societies at the same time, a modern social revolution would probably to flow gradually, not cataclysmically, out of a long series of “non-reformist reforms”, accomplished by mass-based political movements struggling to democratize every major institution from the economy to the political parties, army, and civil bureaucracy” (Skocpol, 1979: 292-293). This is, indeed, how OWS´s ideologues and activists see their movement´ mission, as far as we understand it. Not just as a new social movement, although more global than others, but as a new human experience destined to produce an alterity, an entirely new and superior mode of identity politics and democracy aimed at a superior form of life and more authentic social relations. As Judith Butler would say, “Our individual well-being depends on whether the social and economic structures that support our mutual dependency can be put into place. This happens only by breaking with theneo-liberal status quo, enacting the demands of the peoplethrough the gathering together of bodies in a relentlessly public, obdurate, persisting, activist struggle that seeks to break and remake our political world” (Tidal #2). From this perspective, Occupy´ ideology is profoundly utopian. As an ideology of life and rebellion, it conjoins all great narratives, as at its core lies not just any particular liberation, or any normatively endowed liberty, but the ultimate endeavor of social and individual rediscovery.

Concluding Remarks As Michael Freeden so brilliantly conjectured in 2005, we are now living an “ideological turn” that calls for “a corresponding turn in the scholarly study of ideologies” (Freeden, 2005: 248). Additionally, this second mode of ideological thinking and practice, as we called it, can “open our eyes to what ideologies are, where we find them, and how to identify them” (Freeden, 2005: 249). In this essay, we contended that several factors are transforming the way how we perceive and study ideologies, among which digital activism and its uses of ICTs, the Internet and Internet enabled technologies, like sites, blogs, or social media, for political action and mobilization. Coming from an era, or mode of ideological production, distribution and consumption, where ideologies were understood and socially actualized through action as complete, closed and demarcated doctrines and systems of though related to some authors and texts, we are now confronting a new one, mode two, where virtually anybody can be an ideologue. Organizationally, the changes we are witnessing are very significant. Instead of relying on a restricted number of organizations, like the State

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and Political Parties, the new organizational environment is multi-polar, supporting itself predominantly on loose and informal networks of activists that use in very different ways the affordances of the web. Some use them lightly, as is the case of e-mobilizations, and others heavily, employing sophisticated Internet and Internet enabled tactics to organize and mobilize political action. In all, as we argued, new communication technologies are shaping not only those organizations, as they are new and important channels for ideological articulation and elaboration processes. Showing how Occupy and Hindu Unity are using the WWW to organize and mobilize political action was our next step. As we saw, while the former is a pro-democratic movement that pretends to go to the roots of political mass emancipation, enhancing democracy and freeing it from capitalist and neo-liberal structural domination, opening new spaces for life and proposing emancipatory politics for our actual phantomatic existence, Hindutva is a clear ideology of control that can further radicalize its messages if freed from electoral and conventional politics. In this case, as we saw with Hindu Unity, it can squeeze cultural nationalism to a minimum denominator where religion, emotions and irrationality are updated as means to create a unified and hegemonic State ideology created from the bottom and directed at new forms of totalitarianism. Nationalism and traumatic events are thus articulated and elaborated into powerful appeals to the eradication of impurity and the quest for salvation.

References Althusser, Louis (1972), “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes Towards an Investigation)”, in Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays, ed. Louis Althusser, New York: Monthly Review Press. Benford, Robert D., and Snow, David A. (2000), “Framing Processes and Social Movements: An Overview and Assessment”, Annual Review of Sociology, 26: 611-39. Earl, Jennifer and Kimport, Katrina (2011), Digitally Enabled Social Change: Activism in the Internet Age, Cambridge: The MIT Press. Espírito Santo, Paula, Rosas, António, Caetano, João and Felgueiras, Sérgio (2012), “Social Networking, Protest and Politics in Portugal Do Crisis, Grievances and Social Media Really Suffice for Political Outcomes? A First Study of ‘Geração À Rasca’ Protests.”, paper presented at the XXII World Congress of Political Science, International Political Science Association, IPSA, Madrid, 8th-11th July.

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Freeden, Michael (2005), “Confronting the Chimera of a 'Post' Ideological Age”, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 8, no. 2: 247-62. Inglehart, Ronald (1977), The Silent Revolution: Changing Values and Political Styles among Western Publics, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. Inglehart, Ronald (1990), Culture Shift in Advanced Industrial Society, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. Jaffrelot, Christophe (2007), Hindu Nationalism: A Reader, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Jaffrelot, Christophe and Therwath, Ingrid (2007), “Le Sangh Parivar et la Diaspora Hindoue En Occident: Royaume-Uni, États-Unis et Canada”, Questions de recherche/ Research in question, 22 Octobre. Kleinberg, Jon (1998), “Authoritative Sources in a Hyperlinked Environment”, Proceedings of ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, 668-677. —. (1999), “Hubs, Authorities, and Communities”, ACM Computing Surveys, 31, no. 4. Lipset, Seymour Martin (1985), Consensus and Conflict: Essays in Political Sociology, New Brunswick: Transaction Books. Mann, Michael (1986-1993), The Sources of Social Power, 2 vols, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Radsch, Courtney C. (2011), “Arab Bloggers as Citizen Journalists (Transnational)”, in Encyclopedia of Social Movement Media, ed. John D.H. Downing, London: Sage, 61-64. Rosas, António (2011), “New Methods for Researching Digital Activism: The Meta-Activism Project and the Creation of the Global Digital Activism Data Set”, paper presented at the Research Committee for Political Communication (RC22) (IPSA) and the Political Communication Section da International Association of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR), ISCSP/ Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, Centro de Administração e PolíticasPúblicas (CAPP). Rosas, António (2012), “Framing Freedom in the Middle East – Blogger Sami Ben Gharbia and Arab Digital Activism”, ed. Kiran Prasad for Middle East Communication Studies Series, New Delhi: BRPC Publishing. Rosas, António and Máiz, Ramón (2008), “Democracia e Cultura: Da Cultura Política às Práticas Culturais Democráticas”, História, Revista da Faculdade de Letras, 9: 337-56.

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Skocpol, Theda (1979), States and Social Revolutions – A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia & China, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Snow, David A. and Byrd, Scott (2007), “Ideology, Framing Processes, and Islamic Terrorist Movements”, Mobilization: An International Quarterly Review, 12, no. 1: 119-36. Tarrow, Sidney (1999), “Mad cows and activists: Contentious politics in the trilateral democracies”, San Giacomo Working Papers, 99.1, Institute for European Studies, Cornell University.

LEFT AND RIGHT IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY IDEOLOGICAL DEBATE: THE CASE OF PORTUGAL (1820-1910) PEDRO MIGUEL MARTINS*

Introduction In the study of XIX century and early XX century Portuguese political thought, the Left and Right dichotomy has been accepted intuitively, emerging quite often in the works of historians, political scientists and philosophers. Many an example could be quoted in order to sustain this statement. However, the criteria being used to structure in such a way the ideas, positions, institutions and political movements are seldom explained or typified. In this discussion we hold that the Left-Right dichotomy, notwithstanding its indeterminate nature, constitutes a relevant dyadic framework to situate conceptions and political movements in the context of modernity1, especially in the Portuguese case. Yet, in order to make sense and imbue conceptual rigour, its guiding criteria should be defined. With the aim of fulfilling that objective, when arranging the concepts and political movements, in a period between 1820 and 19102, we have taken

 *

Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Minho. In our opinion, the structuring of politics in terms of Left and Right makes sense only in the context of political modernity; specifically after the political and social transformations brought about by the French Revolution and other modern liberal revolutions. And not only because the linguistic convention that originated then had its origins in the physical distribution of the more radical and more moderate members of the French National Assembly. In fact, what is at stake is a modern conception of politics and citizenship and the emergence of several types of “parties”, factions and/or political movements (treated here in a broader sense and not in the contemporary meaning of the expression: mass party) that have embraced different ideologies and positions regarding citizenship. 2 The reasons for this choice of period as case study have to do with the historical framework of notions of Left and Right, particularly in the Portuguese case. The 1

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inspiration, for the most part, from Norberto Bobbio’s perspective, which we deem to be straightforward and practical. Following in its path, we evaluate the Left and Right concepts according to the degree and extent of equality demanded in terms of social, political and civic rights, or, put in another way, according to the degree of equality in the perception and enactment of the idea of citizenship. Accordingly, within the scope of XIX century Portuguese political thought, the left end of the political spectrum would be consistent, in a particular situation, with the more egalitarian perspectives whilst the right end would correspond to the less egalitarian viewpoints. In other words, although in relative and situational terms, being to the left meant to stand up for more specific rights (e.g., right to vote) for a wider group of citizens, or even all of them (universality). However, we recognise that this set of criteria is fragmented and does not exhaust the range of topics used to distinguish Left and Right, or better yet, between the several Lefts and Rights. Other relevant dimensions in the perception of modern citizenship should be highlighted for they matter greatly when it comes to assess the reach of the equality being demanded. Strictly speaking, its comprehension does not end in legal and institutional outcomes and encompasses, by way of justification, moral, social, economic, axiological, discursive, anthropological considerations. At any rate, besides the formal and institutional aspects related to citizenship, the outlook regarding society and its relations of power/inequalities substantiates a decisive dimension which ought to be emphasised in this ideological polarisation and to which the same criteria are applied3.

 first waves of Left and Right in Portugal coincide with the first phase of Liberalism, which comes to and end with the demise of the First Republic. It would, therefore, be logical to include also the situation following 5th October 1910, during the term of the First Republic. However, due to its complexity, such a task could hardly be adequately addressed in a synthesis article such as this one. 3 One of the more representative examples is the fracture that occurred in Portuguese political thought approximately from 1848 onwards between liberalmonarchists and republicans. Even under its constitutional and liberal guise, the monarchical institution, by way of its unegalitarian nature (whether in its relationship between the monarch and the rest of the citizenry or between the monarch and the aristocracy), jeopardised the purity of the ideals of equal rights proclaimed by the republicans, in a social and not merely legal and constitutional sphere (although that was also the case). At the same time, socialist ideologues would come to question republican equality taking into account its mainly legal, political and formal qualities. Their focus would centre primarily in the striking social and economic disparities in Portuguese society, the overcome of which could not be achieved (merely) through a political regime change.

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To sum up, grossomodo, in the simplified and schematic criteria and perspective we have followed, the divergences between Left and Right are fundamentally associated with different perspectives about equality. These turn up in several domains but mainly in the sphere of citizenship and social ideas. Simply put, we could say without incurring great error that the Left has been and is more egalitarian and the Right less egalitarian. On the other hand, among opposite ends present at a given situation, which we seek here to identify and chart, we naturally find intermediate shades and attitudes.

1. Left(s) and Right(s) in the XIX century: Contexts and Metamorphoses The period mediating between 1820 and 1910 was, for different reasons, primordial and fruitful for the history of Left and Right in Portugal. The Liberal revolution of 1820 was a period of rupture that left a deep ideological legacy and parted the waters, politically speaking, up to the beginning of the XX century. As is known, it sought to establish from the legal and political point of view a free and “Modern Portugal” replacing the Ancient Regime’s “Old Portugal” (absolutist, intolerant, hierarchical, and unegalitarian). As such, it inaugurated, in culture, praxis and institutions – although ephemeral – modern citizenship and the Rule of Law under an advanced liberal and parliamentarian guise in spite of some prudent compromises it made with traditional institutions such as the monarchy and the Catholic Church4. Therefore, despite the risk of exaggeration, only from that moment on can we truly speak of Left and Right in Portugal. Indeed, throughout the whole of the XIX century, starting in 1836 (“Septembrism”5), the liberal “vintista” model (1820-23), both in its theory and its praxis, gave rise to ideologically contradictory positions: either moderately critical, or radically critical or apologetic and even surpassing. Left and Right have for a long time defined themselves

 4

The revolution never questioned the reigning dynasty, the dynasty of the House of Braganza, and established on a constitutional level the principle of State religion: roman, catholic and apostolic. This component would be violently challenged by republicans in the name of secularism/laicism of State in the second half of the XIX century. 5 Revolution of 9th/10th September 1836 that sought to re-establish the radical liberal Constitution of 1822,against the spirit of the moderate Constitutional Charter granted by D. Pedro in 1826. This movement generated the ephemeral Constitution of 1838 which is not, however, equal to its source of inspiration.

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according to their standing in relation to the “vintista” revolution and its liberal egalitarianism. Likewise, if we exclude the socialist currents of a Marxist bearing, which for various reasons had a late beginning in Portugal (XX century), the great ideological options – e.g., between liberalism and socialism, between liberalism and democracy (republicanism), between advanced liberalism and conservatism – that nowadays still divide and stir the waters of political debate have their roots precisely in the context of the XIX century and can be understood, in the framework of modernity, as different or even opposing perspectives concerning equality. Thus, analysing the vast written ideological and political corpus produced during the period of almost a century, encompassing the process of organization and tenure of the constitutional monarchy – which, from 1826 to 1851 suffered interruptions and important changes to its methods and institutions – we are led to conclude that Left and Right have not always coincided with the same political forces or “parties”/factions6, having changed the actors and their profile during the historical process. This was owing to the changes undergone in the political institutions and in society and, related to this, with the very ideological and theoretical evolution of political thinking. But these transformations do not cancel the pertinence and practical character of the Left-Right dichotomy, they actually reinforce it. The faces have changed7, as well as the speeches, the principles and even the values, but the fundamental polarisation between Left and Right has never stopped making sense – and still makes sense today. Consequently, besides the more reactionary monarchical Right (“Miguelismo”) – which by its outright rejection of modernity arising from enlightenment and liberal revolution represented a separate group – three

 6

We regard this notion, as has been stated, in a broad sense and not a specific one. Therefore, we do not refer anachronistically to the concept of a mass party, as is typical of contemporary democracies, whose origins, in Portugal as in other cases, is slow and complex. In any case, since the liberal revolution until today we recognise that political parties and their understanding have endured considerable transformation. 7 The political thinking of a given ideologue or theoretician undergoes transformation throughout his life and, therefore, cannot be associated exclusively to either Left or Right. In any case, there have always been cases of consistency and fidelity to the same positions. That which does not change and operates as an ideal type, allowing us to classify the thinking of an author, movement or current in a given moment of their ideological evolution, is the basic criteria that allows us to speak of Left and Right.

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big ideological families confronted each other, manifesting quite naturally internal ideological nuances (both Left and Right): monarchical liberalism, republicanism and socialisms/anarchists. As such, when depicting the history of Left and Right in the XIX century we cannot help but to contemplate the history of these movements, their fractures, debates, tensions, ruptures and even compromises.

2. The First Wave from the Left and the Right The charting of Left and Right in Portuguese political thought is relatively easy to achieve for the first half of the XIX century. Between 1820 and 1848, approximately, the more advanced versions of the “vintista” (1820-23) and “Septembrist” (1838) liberalism, the latter with some nuances and deep-rooted differences (Vieira, 1987), represented in the ideological spectrum of the time the more left-leaning political proposal, i.e., the more egalitarian and progressive regarding the concepts of citizenship and society. Apart from the different tinges present in the intermediate positions, the far-right was represented by the supporters of counter-revolution, i.e., those longing for the divine right absolute monarchy and Ancient Regime culture, morals and society. Such a set of ideals, given the standpoint of our framework, would correspond without a doubt with the far-right for it was grounded in an organic, strongly unegalitarian and authoritarian perspective of society and political institutions, the more extreme in that context, created as a clear reaction against the modern citizenship variety inspired by the Enlightenment and natural rights theory. The more prominent ideologues of this strain were José Acúrcio das Neves, José da Gama e Castro, Faustino da Madre Deus, José Agostinho de Macedo and Frei Fortunato de S. Boaventura. Still, the Portuguese counter-revolutionary movement besides having fought the tenets of the Enlightenment and the revolutionary concepts that looked to it for inspiration – like its European counterparts, particularly the French – actively conspired against the liberal regime established in the 1820-23 triennium and was later involved in a civil war for restoration, one of the political factors among others of a more structural nature that compromised the stability of the liberal monarchic regime in Portugal, something that would only truly be achieved in 1851 (Regeneration), although in a very different line than that of the “vintista” radicalism. But besides the extreme positions facing the first liberal revolution and its ideological and institutional legacy, intermediate or centrist positions also aligned themselves. The moderate and conservative Right was – for

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reasons similar to those that had led it to reject monarchic absolutism, albeit with a reform strategy – approving of English-fashion liberal and representative institutions which, according to its views based on a “reformist”8 ideological reading of the Portuguese history, matched the more legitimate and authentic representative traditions of the Cortes and Portuguese Monarchy. To this extent, the ideologues9 of this moderate traditionalist current presented a gradual and evolutionary vision both politically as socially. They did not espouse the revolutionary or drastic methods of regime and social change and believed in a peaceful evolution of absolute monarchy towards a moderate representative regime10. Therefore, they questioned the revolution of 1820 for its radicalism and abstractionism. Herein lies a common argument of the Portuguese Right of the time and of the Right in general but capable of different political ranges whether it was the reactionary anti-liberal Right (“Miguelista”) or the moderate, liberal or liberalising Right. In a sense, this criterion – the method of reform – could also be considered to distinguish Left from Right. Likewise, in a typically conservative but not reactionary way (such as that of “Miguelistas”) this current did not accept either what it regarded as the Jacobin radicalism’s point of view and its democratic political proposals: the majority or “numerical” despotism in a unicameral parliamentary regime was placed on a par with absolutist despotism. This was a view that was repeated by all “reformist” ideologues (conservatives or moderate liberals) throughout the XIX century and enshrined in what is called “Chartism”11 and the Regeneration (1851).



8 Notion used by António Manuel Espanha and António Pedro Mesquita, although developed differently by both scholars of Portuguese political thought. 9 Francisco Borja Garção Stockler, Ricardo Raimundo Nogueira, Francisco Manuel Trigoso de Aragão Morato, João de Sousa Pinto de Magalhães, José Joaquim Rodrigues de Bastos, Marquês de Palmela (Pedro de Sousa Holstein: 1781-1850). The names of Alexandre Herculano and Silvestre Pinheiro Ferreira can also be included in this moderate current but they display a higher theoretical level from the point of view of political theory. 10 The philosopher Silvestre Pinheiro Ferreira (1769-1846) was undoubtedly one of the more prominent and influential thinkers of this reformist and moderate vision of liberalism, in a utilitarian and consequential perspective. In any case he also influenced both socialists and republicans. Regarding the political thinking of this author see Pereira, 1974. 11 “Chartism” can be defined as a notion of liberalism and constitutional monarchy of a more moderate and organic approach, a solution inspired by several analogous theoretical sources (doctrinarism, the considerations of B. Constant, etc.) that eventually succeeded in Portugal against the more extreme sectors (both Left and

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Because of these and other fundamental reasons the radical liberals’ (“vintistas”) pure parliamentarism was highly disputed and rejected by moderates. These, on the other hand, argued for a balanced and measured monarchic political system grounded in checks and balances (neither excessively parliamentary nor absolutist), equipped with representative mechanisms that were not based on elections alone (a subject of great debate on bicameralism and unicameralism in the XIX century) reflecting the organic social forces and restraining the more revolutionary impulses of lower chambers whose members were chosen by elections only. As such, more or less organic views of society can be found in the proposals of this current’s ideologues that, giving credence to natural differences, prized the leading and political roles of the aristocracy, the hereditary nobility and the clergy in monarchic institutions and that nevertheless associated themselves with liberal values and principles such as equality before the law, constitutionalism and the defence of certain liberties and individual rights but not in a sense as far-reaching as that of the more radical liberalism12. Instead, citizenship rights and the idea of society of a more individualist and rationalist inclination, supported by the “vintista” liberals and after that, with some variations, by the “Septembrists” or adherents of the September Revolution (1836-1838), embodied the more advanced and egalitarian notions, bearing in mind the context of the time (in political, sociological and ideological terms), which would naturally change a few decades later. So much so that, excepting the 1820-23 triennium and to some extent during the tenure of the Septembrist Revolution (1836-38), such political proposals never had an institutional outcome during the XIX century. In fact, after a civil war and long periods of instability with dictatorship governments (such as the one by Costa Cabral) the monarchic regime finally stabilised in 1851 (Regeneration) but did not follow the original radicalism. Analysing the political speeches and theoretical writings of the leading advanced liberal ideologues (Borges Carneiro, Fernandes Tomás, etc) and even the liberal Constitutions of 1822 and 1838, we find a concept of

 Right) thanks to the liberal King D. Pedro. Historically this current had its inception with the celebrated Constitutional Charter granted by that king in 1826, and that was not framed by elected representatives of the nation in Constitutional Cortes (a fact that was unacceptable to the radicals). It was this Constitution, albeit with minor changes, that governed the actions of the monarchic regime and citizen’s rights until its demise in 1910. 12 Regarding one of the leading figures of this current, Francisco Manuel Trigoso de Aragão Morato, see our work: Martins, 1996: 667-687.

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equality that inaugurates Portuguese political modernity. Indeed, not only is an unheard of constitutional framework for the Rule of Law founded, rooted in the equality before the law of all citizens without exception, but a giant leap is taken towards modern citizenship. Thus, based on a contract perception of the nation’s sovereignty – one of the more important principles of their ideals – this movement established and enthroned in a theoretically articulate way not only universal civil rights but political rights as well for certain classes of citizens disregarding criteria of a hereditary nature or royal appointment as the sections of the Right (moderate or radical) endorsed although to different extents. Accordingly, the collection of rights that we could define as belonging to the domain of political freedom(s) that in the absolutist regime were restricted to a single figure, the monarch, are now held by a wider group of citizens and drawing from criteria which, although not universal, we could classify as enabling and demographic, far from hereditary or royal appointment. In fact, in the liberal Left’s strict parliamentary interpretation of the exercise and foundations of the sovereignty of the nation (one and indivisible) legislative power should be vested in a single chamber (unicameralism) of the Cortes by representatives of the nation duly elected from a body of qualified voters based on criteria such as instruction and financial self-sufficiency that although far from being universal nonetheless had a relevant sociological impact from the point of view of the meritocratic (rather than hereditary) criteria of choice. It is nothing short of a radical break from the theory and practice of the Portuguese monarchy and away from the Ancient Regime’s hierarchical society. On the other hand, although it was not abolished as an institution, the monarchy lost all of its former political weight to the point of there being talk of protorepublicanism. The power of the monarch is significantly drained, and being seen as a mere magistrate of the nation (head of the executive power) he is now subordinate to the sovereign power of the nation vested upon parliament, a single chamber of electoral origin. This originated an endless debate in XIX century Portuguese political thought and has profound repercussions on the liberal side as to the location of boundaries between Left and moderate and conservative Right. Be it as it may, it is clear that the Left’s perspective, not being quite democratic-republican, was nonetheless a great improvement for the time, bearing in mind the persistence of unegalitarian and anachronistic structures in Portugal typical of the Ancient Regime. It is well-known that liberalism, coherently buttressed in a contract and Enlightenment culture, was carried out against the absolute monarchic state and the principle of royal sovereignty, against a society of social

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classes and privileges, rejecting the prevalence and imposition of an intolerant religious vision of society and politics; against the existence of repressive and censorship structures such as the Inquisition, the Real Mesa Censória and the Intendência Geral de Polícia; against a legal and penal system with no assurances for the citizenry. Consequently, civil rights (such as freedom of conscience and ideas, the right to a fair trial, right to property and to security of person, among others) based on a liberal interpretation of modern natural rights13 were universal citizenship rights for Portugal’s first liberalism. In turn, existing social and economic disparities and, on another scale, political as well14, were accepted as legitimate as long as they were owing to individual abilities, merit and endeavour and not artificial mechanisms originating from privileges of blood. In spite of deviations and misrepresentations when put into practice, in the ideological speech and the institutions, and of disagreements raised in other matters, the defence of legal equality consolidated the ideological heritage of the whole of monarchic liberalism – continued and expanded by republicanism – but was upheld more radically and eventually with greater coherence by the more advanced sectors of its first phase. Nevertheless, the issue that truly divided monarchic liberalism and that in this context amounts to the cornerstone used to define the association to its Left, is related to the constitutional criteria of assigning political rights, namely the citizens’ ability to elect the political representatives of the nation and also of being elected for public office. A speech delivered by Borges Carneiro in the Constitutional Cortes (1821) that led to the drafting of the Constitution of 1822, one of many examples that we could quote, demonstrates with evident clarity the fundamental nucleus of the concept of equality in the first liberalism: “It is necessary to distinguish civil rights and political rights […]. Civil rights, such as, for example, not being arrested without charge, not having one’s postal mail opened, publish one’s thought by the press, right to property and security, etc. These and similar rights every citizen has them regardless of its class, with or without physical or moral impairment, etc; a man who is a halfwit, for example, or a criminal, has the same rights as any other citizen. As for political rights, those related to public order, such

 13

Known and taught in Portugal in the Faculty of Law of Coimbra since at least the reforms of the Marquis of Pombal in 1772. It is not by chance that most of the liberal generation attended this academic establishment. 14 The wording of the Constitution of 1822, for example, is well advanced in this regard, namely article 12: “All Portuguese men can be admitted to public office with no other distinction than his talents or virtues” (Miranda, 2004: 31).

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as serving in public office, to elect or be elected as member of the Cortes, the exercise of those rights is subject to particular rules… It is therefore essential to distinguish between civil and political rights; the former belong to all citizens, the political ones to those to whom the laws grant them as the welfare of society so demands. Employing these principles to this matter in hand, I shall say that it is for the Cortes to designate which are the conditions and qualities pertaining to those who vote in elections and that these qualities shall be devised by the public good.” (Castro, 1990: 218). Significantly, Borges Carneiro was one of the leading representatives within the first liberalism of the leftist orientation, namely concerning the extension and criteria for the allocation of political rights. For the rest, this topic divided the first generation of liberalism – and the subsequent generations – between a more democratising and republicanising wing (we refrain from writing democratic and republican) and a more gradual and moderate one referred to, in a somewhat equivocal style, as “reformist”15. For similar reasons, it contributed to part the waters in Portuguese political thought until the beginning of the century16. Therefore, the more radical liberalism of Borges Carneiro and other liberal ideologues (Manuel FernandesTomás, Pato Moniz, Passos Manuel, Rocha Loureiro, etc) truly represented the Left. Despite the fact that their points of view did not match the demand for a fully egalitarian citizenship in the political sense (something that in Portugal would only happen later, in the XX century), it represented the more egalitarian stand at the time, also in their idea of society and in their critical judgment of its inequalities, particularly those arising from nobility and clerical privileges and

 15

Cf. A. Pedro Mesquita and, with another reach, António Manuel Hespanha. Actually, the “reformist” wing does not display exactly the same orientations in its ranks, despite the affinities. There is a markedly liberal current, individualist, and another one more conservative, organic, moderately traditionalist. The expression seems to us to be excessively generic seen that in “reformism” there are several reformist leanings although they can be identified with the liberal and moderate Right or, on second bias, by the more moderate and centrist Left. 16 The debate did not end with the advent of the First Republic. Not even then, contrary to the propaganda’s promises, was universal suffrage enshrined in electoral laws. It is not relevant within the scope of this article to debate the reasons that led to such an outcome. But in the evaluation of the propaganda’s ideological discourse and in the confrontation between liberalism and republicanism, concerning ideology and political thought, it is pertinent to emphasise the defence of universal suffrage manifest in republican programmes and theoretical writings as a criterion of separation between monarchic liberalism and republicanism.

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institutions typical of the Ancient Regime17. For these and other reasons, it would be a gross and naïve anachronism to believe that a democratic perspective, in our current sense of the term, could have emerged and have been implemented in Portugal in the early decades of the XIX century. Thus, although we might understand the underlying reasons, we do not fully agree with the usage of the expression “democratic current” (Mesquita, 2006: 167-69) to label the liberal Left. If, in practice and even in theory, the more advanced and democratising parliamentary liberalism never came close to upholding universal suffrage and equal political rights for all (the dominant position having been suffrage based on census and autonomy, i.e., property and educational criteria for the execution of political office and enfranchisement) it materialised nonetheless the more egalitarian position at the time since that, in total, it upheld more civil and, above all, political rights for a wider class of citizens18. The later republican and democratic movement went further from the point of view of political citizenship, at least in ideology and discourse which are fundamental guidelines of our approach. Therefore, it manifested itself completely opposed to Chartism and the moderate and conservative solutions adopted by the constitutional monarchy after the Regeneration. This current will naturally claim itself heir and follower of the “vintista” faction taking their liberal and egalitarian assumptions –

 17

We believe that an advanced liberal point of view but not democratic was the only conceivable one in a society wrought by countless drawbacks: deep social inequalities, poor development of capitalism and civil society, very high illiteracy rates, the church’s tutelage over the popular classes especially in sparsely politicised rural areas. 18 On this subject see the wording of the Constitution of 1822 which emerged from a strong debate regarding the extension and criteria for the allocation of political rights (voting rights and eligibility) which never succeeded in reaching unanimity at the Constitutional Cortes. Indeed, the Right of Suffrage (Art. 33) besides excluding women, also excluded the following categories of citizens: “I – those under twenty-five years of age; among which are not included those married having twenty years of age; military officers of the same age; those with an academic degree; and the clergy of the Holy Orders; II – sons under the paternal power and living with them, except if they serve in public offices; III – servants, which will not extend to overseers and keepers living in houses separate from their masters; IV – vagrants, i.e., those without a job, craft or known living; V – Regulars, among which are not included those of the military Orders nor the secularised; VI – those that for the future, reaching the age of twenty-five years, cannot read and write, if they are under seventeen when the Constitution is published” (Miranda, 2004: 35).

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particularly in its representative conception of the nation’s sovereignty and its defence of electoral mechanisms for the choice of its representatives – to its ultimate consequences. Therefore, according to its retrospective ideological reading of an Enlightened, historicist and progressive leaning, it coherently regarded the liberal Left as a step and a historical advance towards the republican and democratic notion of citizenship. For all that, advanced liberalism was in part a decisive source of inspiration and legitimacy for republicanism. In the republican retrospective and historicist reading, liberal revolutions were considered by republicans to be historical steps leading to the democratic republic which, regarding a progressive and philo-enlightenment approach, would have a good rhetorical and ideological justification.

3. The Rise of Republicanism and Socialisms From 1848 onwards – the year of the famous French Revolution of a socialising nature that inaugurated the Second Republic – faced with favourable internal circumstances19 and the advent in Europe of socialisms and republicanisms, Left and Right will slowly change their faces. In this initial phase, however, there is still some uncertainty and syncretism in the process of growth and differentiation of the several ideological families, their specific conceptions of equality and liberty. More than radical opponents of monarchical liberalism, the republican and even socialist ideological currents represented, in their beginnings, profound and critical developments of their liberal and egalitarian assertions. One of the illustrative figures of the ideological shift operated in this period is José Félix Henriques Nogueira (1823-1858)20, a thinker that decisively influenced republicans and socialists. There are no doubts that although liberal at root his perspective is more egalitarian than the “vintism” one and embodies an ideological change in the notion of citizenship that is of a democratic nature. Increasing in relevance from the 1870’s onwards, republicanism became – at least for a while – the main proposal on the Left end for it upheld a concept of citizenship far more egalitarian from the point of view of political rights, which demanded universal suffrage and a participatory



19 The dictatorship of Costa Cabral, the worsening of the social and economic disparities, the draining and bankruptcy of the liberal regime. 20 On the thinking of the founding ideologue of Portuguese republicanism and its social, economic and political background see: Pereira, 1976: 159-178; Catroga, 2000: 105-119.

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idea of democracy that identified itself with the republic as a political regime. Thus, it strongly opposed the monarchic regime and regarded the republican regime as the only one that truly stood for a liberal and democratic model, being a non-hereditary and fully elected regime. Therefore, the republican ideology during the propaganda period (18481910) declared itself in favour of universal suffrage, an active and nonpassive citizenship ideal for most citizens unlike liberalism’s practice particularly in its institutional form and reproduced in the constitutional monarchy’s procedures, according to the “reformist” orientation that justified the dichotomy between “active” and “passive” citizens originating from Constant. Consequently, although divided in their strategies and tactics (pacifist and evolutionist or violent and revolutionary) republicans fought openly and relentlessly to overthrow the monarchy. Their social and political ideals and their propaganda strategy emphasised precisely the political regime change. This is one of the key notes that distinguish republicanism from socialist currents of the time, mainly worried about the changing of the social and economic structures, sometimes over the political ones. Wrongly or not – such considerations are of no consequence for our purposes – republicans saw the monarchy as an archaic institution besides being intrinsically anti-democratic and anti-liberal. Within the same ideological family, the more egalitarian currents (socialising republicanism) demanded equality in political participation as well as an increase in social equality (through political means) and even some social rights21. The leading ideologues of this approach were, among others, José Falcão, Sebastião de Magalhães Lima, João de Meneses, Fernão Boto-Machado, Afonso Costa, Teixeira Bastos and Carrilho Videira. Knowledge of the historic context (both domestic and foreign) is important in order to understand the positional shift of Left and Right. As we have stated, for several reasons revealed by historians, stabilisation of the constitutional monarchy’s regime in the 1850’s did not follow the radicalism of 1820 and 1838, too advanced for the social, economic and psychological Portuguese conditions. Instead, it acquired a conservative stance (similar to the one supported by the moderate, liberal and “reformist” (Hespanha, 2004: 125-152) Right after the revolution) and of an anti-democratic leaning, despite the reforms carried out in 1878 towards a considerable expansion of suffrage, an opening that would later

 21

Regarding this subject, see our article on the ideological chasms in Portuguese republicanism and its main differences regarding emerging socialisms in the same context: Martins, 2011: 659-676.

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undergo a step back due to the threats to system arising from the effects and challenging initiatives of the socialist and republican opposition. Indeed, during the Regeneration22 (1851) the monarchy in its constitutional and political framework reflected in great measure the conservative orientation of Chartism. Inspired by influential theories of the time it created a fourth power alongside the legislative, executive and judicial: the moderating power vested upon the monarch. The carrying into execution of this power was of vital importance as events would prove and had a monopolising and absorbing role in the monarchy’s political system because it decisively affected and controlled the execution and organisation of executive power (formation and dissolution of governments, which were depended on its support). Besides, through the establishment of bicameralism (one elected lower chamber – with the known constrictions due to limited suffrage and the influence of political bosses; and a higher chamber by royal and lifelong appointment for indeterminate periods) the regime replicated and promoted a social and political oligarchy that effectively distorted the liberal ideal of equality inscribed in the Constitution. On the other hand, by virtue of what has been said, this regime excluded from political participation educated sectors of Portuguese society, among others, belonging to the middle and lower bourgeoisie of the bigger cities which predictably enough adhered to republicanism. To a great extent this ideological option met their political aspirations and worldview. In fact, according to the late-century republican view, the monarchy became associated with outdated and religious values and worldviews. Moreover, in agreement with scientism’s ideas adopted by republicans and its ideological reading (from past and present) the Portuguese monarchy was related with the more obsolete Catholicism and could never evolve into a modern liberal democracy. Thus, in the second half of the XIX century the more reactionary positions of the counter-revolutionary movement and “Miguelista” restoration faction gradually lost importance and influence (emerging quite curiously under a new guise during the First Republic through the Lusitanian Integralism23). The Right moved on to take shelter in the more



22 From the point of view of XIX century Portuguese political history, the “Regeneration” coincides with the constitutional monarchy’s political phase wherein it stabilised, with the conservative guidelines already delineated, in a regime of rotating political parties replacing each other in power. 23 In that context emerged also a moderate monarchic and liberalising Right, similar to what had taken place during the liberal “vintista” revolution. Luís de Magalhães (1859-1935) and Carlos Malheiro Dias (1875-1941) emerged as two of

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conservative sectors of the Constitutional Movement. On the other hand, approximately from 1848 onwards, republicans and socialists of a utopian or anarchic inclination steadily took charge of the Left. The republicans, besides a change of regime endorsed a profound change of mentalities in Portuguese society based on the more advanced progressivism of the Enlightenment and inspired – from the 1870’s onwards – by the late-century scientism, but especially by positivism, materialist monism and evolutionism. Far from being socialist conceptions, those transformations had a purpose: the construction of a more egalitarian and enlightened society, not only as regards civil and political rights but even in social terms – a necessary condition for the full achievement of the latter – which were advocated with greater emphasis and extent by the republican Left of a socialising inclination. For example, the passionate defence of free and universal primary schooling – inspired by the French Constitution of 1793 – aimed at instructing citizens (regardless of their social origin) so as to create the social conditions, in terms of minimal education and information, to achieve a true democracy in Portugal. It was also a central ideal for French republicanism and one whose materialisation was attempted during the First Republic (1910) through reforms under the tutelage and support of the State that sought to establish free, secular and mandatory-for-all primary schooling in order to counter the structural problem of the high illiteracy rates in Portuguese population. In this as well as in other areas (e.g., in social theory and ethics) – ideologically relevant for the evaluation of the suitable degree of State intervention in society and its transformation – there was a clear and straightforward break between republicans and liberals that has been stressed by scholars such as Fernando Catroga (Catroga, 2000). However, as has been alluded to, the great republican family (notwithstanding the basic principles that united it in the same struggle against the constitutional monarchy) besides having evolved from 1848 until 1870, and from 1870 until the end of the monarchy24, never had a monolithic and unitary ideology, gathering in its midst ideologically diverse currents that gave rise to divisions until the end of the First

 the more outstanding ideologues of this current. In fact, their political monarchicliberal and conservative thinking cannot be confused with the reactionary Integralism that materialised against the First Republic. 24 To the point where one can talk of a first generation of republicanism (that emerged in the 1840’s and 1850’s) more eclectic, evangelist, spiritualist and socialising, and of a second (that rose in the 1870’s) completely in tune with the late-century scientism, apart a few exceptions.

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Republic (1910-1926). Naturally, some positioned themselves more to the Left and others more to the Right, besides the ones that were to be found in the centre25. In fact, it is known that the origins of the republican movement and the founding of the P.R.P. (Partido Republicano Português – Portuguese Republican Party), supposedly in 1876, were marked by profound debates and internal disagreements both in substance as well as tactics and strategy (revolution or peaceful evolution towards a republic, federalism or unitarism, etc.). This would reverberate during the First Republic (1910-1926) in divisions and confrontations between political and ideological factions, one of the main reasons for the regime’s instability. However, despite the chasms within republicanism it is correct to say that due to its egalitarian nature in terms of citizenship rights (particularly in the field of political and even social rights) and bearing in mind other factors (in the conception of State and society) republicanism was to the left both of contemporary conservative monarchic liberalism and, to a lesser degree, of the more advanced and historical forms of liberalism (“vintism”, “Septembrism”).

4. The Third Wave: from Republicanism to Socialism In the late XIX and early XX century, as the contradictions of capitalism, the inequalities and social conflicts gather pace in Portugal, republicanism will gradually cease to be the more Left-leaning perspective, at least in some aspects concerning the idea of society and social rights, yielding the position to different configurations of socialism and anarchism. In fact, some of these currents could be considered more egalitarian as they critically assessed the notion of political and formal citizenship but also society and the assessment of social and economic inequalities as well as the relations and struggles among groups and classes in the economic system. However, the tactical and strategy-related relations and the ideological and even personal and historical affinities between the left or “socialising” sector of republicanism – that was not the dominant sector26 – and certain

 25

Regarding this subject, see my article already alluded to: Martins, 2011. By way of example we could mention the profound divisions that separated the republican and positivist Teófilo Braga (1843-1924) form a socialist philosopher and intellectual like Antero de Quental (1842-1891). The controversial and lively political and ideological confrontation that took place between the demo-liberal wing of republicanism and the utopian socialist movements and factions marked the evolution of Left and Right in the last quarter of the XIX century. Regarding

26

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varieties of socialism and/or anarchism make it harder to establish a clear evolutionary chart between republicanism and socialism as regards Left and Right, especially if we use the Marshall pattern. Be it as it may, and running the chance of falsifying the complexity of ideologies and positioning, we could say that the third wave of the Left in Portuguese political thought already represented a different phase regarding the notions of citizenship of both liberalism and republicanism since these had almost exclusively (we refrain from saying totally) centred themselves around political and civil rights. Instead, socialist ideologues’ main concerns now focused rather unprecedentedly on social rights (labour and relief, etc.) and for the same reasons were betting on an increase of tangible social and economic equality that had also worried certain republican and even liberal currents although with different interpretations and implications. In effect, Portuguese socialists – although far from Marxist patterns and criteria – contemplated specifically the aspirations and needs of the disadvantaged classes, sometimes called “the fourth Estate”, the “labour” sector or the “labouring classes”. Consequently, the class struggle directed above all to overcome the legal and political inequalities carried out by liberals and republicans (although with greater intensity and reach by the latter) is gradually being replaced by claims centred mainly in the injustice of social and economic inequalities in view of the accomplishment of the “labouring classes’” concrete aspirations in the context of a viewpoint of greater social conflict (although not Marxist) and less class-collaboration than republican patriotism. The peculiarities of the political parties that emerged in this period reflect this difference, as we shall see. Thus, socialists gave priority in most cases to labour and social claims and were inclined to underrate and lessen the policies, which sometimes had a more tactical and strategic than material objective. Besides, the strategy to change Portuguese society, being progressive and egalitarian both for republicans and socialists, was guided by fundamentally different visions and criteria. The former viewed the solution for the “social question” through an eminently political approach (through the democratisation, schooling and spread of education, the republicanisation of Portuguese society, extension of, or universal, suffrage, etc.); while the latter favoured solutions within the social and unionist struggle and the change of the social and economic structures in a more reformist or revolutionary way and sometimes with an anarchist penchant. However,

 this ideological, philosophical, political and even personal confrontation, see Homem, 2009: 41-56.

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the fact that they criticised inequality and supported more equality did not hide the fact that they represented two different perspectives of the Left in that period; or two Lefts within the Left, if one would prefer. The problem lies in understanding which of the two perspectives – if one can sum the question in so simplistic a form – would be more to the Left… Moreover, the difficulty when placing some versions of Portuguese late-century socialism to the Left of republicanism is due to the subordinate or void position assigned sometimes to formal political citizenship and also its very organic idea of society in some cases27. Likewise, the relationship of differentiation and competition that developed between the leftist currents of republicanism and the various currents of socialisms and anarchism, when present, was not as straightforward and clear as the one that developed between republicanism and monarchic liberalism28. Indeed, both republicans and socialists criticised the constitutional monarchic regime as well as the society on which it was based and showed some broad affinities such as the egalitarian leaning, the anticlericalism, the defence of federalism (national and international) and the political and administrative decentralisation, the mental affiliation with progressivism and the Enlightenment. However, after the impact of the Paris Commune revolution (1871) there were decisive splits between the Lefts, republican and socialist. In theoretical and ideological terms the social egalitarianism and/or increase

 27

That apolitical stance, averse to the settlement of the “Social Question” by way of the political and institutional structures of State and citizenship, was based in great measure upon a critical and sceptical outlook regarding representative (whether monarchic or republican) as well as parliamentary regimes, emphasising its inherent and incorrigible vices: the influence of political bosses, oligarchies, preponderance of the affluent groups and class. This was not the outlook of republicans, with the exception of the republican Right’s ideologues such as Basílio Teles (1856-1923). Interestingly, the scepticism regarding the virtues of parliamentarism, especially in Portugal, and its criticism (historical, sociological and philosophical) will become one of the ideological and inspiring standpoints both for socialist currents and the anti-liberal Right of the XIX and XX century. We shall see that the monarchic politician and intellectual Oliveira Martins will unveil the existing bridge between the two factions. 28 Many of the intellectual and political biographies of socialist and republican ideologues point to paths where the options initially merge in order to evolve towards different solutions, either in one way or the other. In some cases, the boundaries between socialism and republicanism are more fragile than the separation (not original in political and intellectual historiography) that we seek to establish in this paper. Such is the case that occasionally tactical alliances were proposed of accepted.

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in social and labour rights supported by the socialists did not always correspond, in the ideological discourse, to the defence of more political rights or of a preliminary legal and political step for the accomplishment of the latter (socialising republicanism). Due to the strategic primacy placed on the resolution of the so called “Social Question” (conflict between capital and labour), the XIX century Portuguese socialist movement was sometimes apolitical and abstentionist to the point of undervaluing the issue of the regime for tactical and strategic reasons or, according to republicans, the imperative replacement of the oligarchic monarchy for a political republic or democracy. In a somewhat prophetic lucid and clairvoyant fashion – given what was to happen during the First Republic29 - the matter was regarded by a great number of socialists and anarchic movements alike as irrelevant or useless to the resolution of the real problems, the social an labour problems. This tendency was manifest at the time of the founding in 1875 of the Partido Operário Socialista (Worker’s Socialist Party)30 under the influence of two foremost ideologues, Azedo Gneco (1849-1911) and José Fontana (1840-1876), before the emergence of a Partido Republicano Português (Portuguese Republican Party). This socialist party entered in direct competition within the Left with the P.R.P. (Portuguese Republican Party). Nevertheless, due to internal, theoretical and strategic differences it would endure several transformations including in its renaming and ideological content31.



29 A flagrant neglect on the part of the Republic towards the social and economic issue; a growing divorce among workers and unions and the republican governments; a very harsh repression by the republican governments of strikes and other protest initiatives organised by the more leftist political and social forces such as the anarcho-syndicalists. 30 José Fontana’s speech delivered during the very night the party was founded addresses this and is symbolic for its apolitical ideological meaning. Therefore, it marks the divorce between socialists and republicans in the 1870’s. As Prof. A. Pedro Mesquita writes, “if, thus far, socialism and republic were two ideals that walked hand in hand, from this moment on their paths would separate, each of them privileging a specific strategy, one giving priority to the economy, the other to the political” (Mesquita, 2006: 488). 31 These solutions did not prevent its permanent crisis and the meagre social and political influence it had in Portugal until its inglorious end in the XX century during the authoritarian regime of the Estado Novo (New State – 1933). Indeed, in 1878 under the more radical and revolutionary impetus of Azedo Gneco – for many one of the authors closest to the Marxist current of the International – it became named the Partido Socialista Operário Português (Portuguese Socialist Worker’s Party). Because of differences with the possibilist wing of the party,

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On the other hand, some forms of socialist thought in Portugal would be closer to the monarchic Rights than the republican Left because of their statist, organic and corporate stance (the outcome of which was due in great measure to the inspiration of theoretical influences such as the German cathedratic socialism, evolutionism, etc.). Oliveira Martins (18451894) is without doubt the leading representative and theoretically most relevant in XIX century Portuguese political thought. Indeed, his political and social thinking, particularly during its maturity years, has a strong organic, anti-liberal and anti-democratic leaning32despite his genuine concerns regarding social justice and his committed writing about socialism, having supported a dictatorship government within the monarchy’s framework, which contributed to the latter’s demise. In the ideological space of the Right the similar and symbolic case of Basílio Teles (1856-1923)33 stands out.

 Gneco would end up associated with the formation of another party, the Partido Socialista Português (Portuguese Socialist Party - 1895). As if this break-up of the socialist movement in two factions in 1899 was not enough, another force emerges, the Concentração Republicana-Socialista (Republican-Socialist Concentration) which upheld an alliance of republicans and socialists that would prove fatal for socialists given that their autonomy and power of influence over the masses was seriously compromised. 32 On the social and political thinking of this author, see, for example, Catroga, 200: 171-198. 33 Basílio Teles’ republicanism is authoritarian and conservative. Based on a very personal reading of positivist philosophy and sociology – as well as of other inspirations and converging influences such as materialist monism – he advocated a strongly organic, hierarchical and unegalitarian concept of society. This vision was inseparable from a markedly elitist notion of politics, averse to the contingent and fallible methods of choice and decision characteristic of parliamentary democracy. Basílio Teles, just as Oliveira Martins, was a severe critic of demo-liberal parliamentarism, engaging in a profound reflection about its sociological and economic framing and about its crisis and decline in Portugal throughout the XIX century. He developed for the same reasons a theoretical justification of dictatorships (temporary and even permanent ones) which is remarkable in republicanism. However, Basílio Teles placed himself at the margins of the First Republic, dominated by the democratic party (radical) and was one of the fiercest critics of the policies and reforms put in place such as the religious policy of Afonso Costa. In short, republicanism’s Right evinces in some aspects (such the economic and political) an anti-liberal and even anti-democratic stance (despite republicanism), being nationalist and patriotic to the extreme, markedly organicist and sociocratic. It is much closer, up to a certain point, to Comte’s original formula.

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Notwithstanding, due to the theoretical maturity and development of favourable sociological, economic and ideological conditions in early XX century (from the point of view of industrial capitalism’s development, a delayed process in Portugal), currents and authors emerged that would effectively be more to the left of thoroughly political republicanism from the point of view of citizenship and the idea of society, since they would support more social rights but at the same time, and connected with this, a more egalitarian society in political terms, something that caused them not to despise a regime change towards a democratic republic. Regarding this, the republican João de Meneses is one of the theoretically remarkable examples (Meneses [1902], 1975); the careful and updated education in terms of socialist thinking that he displays should be pointed out. It is an interesting conceptual issue but perhaps byzantine, to determine whether it is a socialising republicanism which tactically sought to garner support with the groups and classes related to work and socialist causes; or, alternatively, whether it is a socialism that would accept republican democracy as a prior and necessary step towards the achievement of a socialist society, i.e., an egalitarian society (socially and politically) and where the dominant classes would not oppress and/or exploit the others (in every sense): “Not losing sight of the ultimate objective, let us work to ease the advent of a society in which it becomes impossible to maintain class predominance. Let us rush by the moral, intellectual and physical education of workers their emancipation, which will be the emancipation of all mankind. But let us keep in mind the harsh reality of facts and remind ourselves that we cannot face the social movement by confining ourselves to the limited concept that arises from dealing with its economic aspect only. Then, let us not disdain from collaborating towards the foundation of political democracy, founding a State where the workers class is legally equal to the other classes and so becomes capable of constant influence in

 In conclusion, for Basílio Teles, Republic did not necessarily mean liberal democracy – except for the unconditional defence of freedom of thought and expression, the inviolability of private property and the individual guaranties of justice and political participation – much less social democracy as would be expected. His republic, whilst not distancing itself from the general patterns of Portuguese republicanism in terms of national sovereignty, patriotism and modernism, has a more minimalist and Spartan content, so to speak, which is not consistent with the dominant parliamentarism in republican (as well as liberal) theory and practice.

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the pursuit of its interests, changing the economic institutions. On the other hand, let us organise and through the unions, the co-operatives, the popular universities, let us improve our conditions, by the very effort, acquiring the indispensable capacity to elevate ourselves. Let us always have in mind that our intervention in all social movements must be subject to the principles of Justice and let us not therefore fail to intervene, contributing to the accomplishment of new conquests for the benefit of all” (Meneses [1902], 1975: 71).

By way of interim conclusion, we sustain that the emergence of this third wave of political Left in the Portuguese XIX century, making use in the abstract and linear sense of the progressive evolution of citizenship (Marshall), becomes rather more complex to evaluate and identify in the material layout of the political and ideological movements, particularly since some sectors of the Left (socialist and anarchist) discredited and tried to substitute with structures of self-government the more formal and political ideas of citizenship (liberalism, republicanism). Accordingly, only an analytical study can properly enlighten the matter. Either way, until the republican revolution of 1910 – moment in which the scenario changes radically, seen that the republic will fail to live up to the egalitarian promises of the “propaganda period” (both in terms of political as in social rights) – it would not be exaggerated to state that the XX century Portuguese socialist (and anarchic) currents, apart some honourable and deserving exceptions, experienced theoretical and organisational fragilities and inconsistencies. The historiography that in the last decades has been addressing the subject allows forwarding several types of explanations for the phenomenon. In any case, it seems beyond dispute that ideological and cultural factors are intertwined with economic and sociological factors, i.e., the insufficient development of industrial capitalism and a sufficiently large and strong urban proletariat with an ideological education and training that would enable it to successfully lead an autonomous social and political force to the left of republicanism. For all that, in the context of the post-liberal Lefts and given its patriotic inclination and appeal to different social classes, its larger sociological support base in cities (although divorced from the countryside which was the majority), and its proven capacity to gather support even in the working sectors, the demo-liberal republicanism was the victorious political and ideological current and dominated the opposition against the monarchy until the republican revolution of 1910.

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Conclusions In the realm of XIX century Portuguese political thought the Left and Right positioning changed as the historical circumstances shifted and the two terms are therefore relative concepts as regards the charting of the political movements and forces that claimed them. Indeed, liberalism did not always represent the left end of the political spectrum, and the same goes for the republicanism that would later challenge it. The relationship between republicanism and socialism, although more complex and tinted – citizenship in the formal and political sense is not the only parameter to consider (being denied in some perspectives) –, acquired later a similar meaning. Furthermore, within each of these big ideological families that fought each other throughout the XIX century after the 1820 liberal revolution there were also groups and factions that were more to the Left or to the Right. As can be seen, in all circumstances and different historical moments the Left-Right scale has always presupposed extreme reference points. Likewise, it has never been a black-and-white scale but it contained shades and different colours. Therefore, it applies over the entire political spectrum but also over partial segments (such as liberalism and republicanism). Despite the fact that the naming of the ideological families and currents can vary and fluctuate, ultimately there have been in each circumstance more egalitarian and progressive positions and others less. Thus, according to the chosen criteria it is relevant to evaluate contemporary Portuguese political thought in terms of Left and Right. This evaluation presupposes an absolute criterion (the degree of equality – social and in terms of citizenship rights) which, in our opinion, just as it was useful to distinguish Left and Right in the past is still, mutatis mutandis, acceptable today.

References Almeida, Pedro Tavares de (2011), “O Sistema Eleitoral e as Eleições em Portugal (1895-1910): Uma perspectiva comparada”, in Eleições e sistemas eleitorais no século XX português: uma perspectiva histórica e comparativa, X Curso Livre de História Contemporânea, Lisboa: Edições Colibri. Bobbio, Norberto (1994), Direita e Esquerda – Razões e significados de uma distinção política, Lisboa: Editorial Presença. Braga, Teófilo (1983), História das Ideias Republicanas em Portugal, Lisboa: Vega.

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Bonifácio, Maria de Fátima (2010), A Monarquia Constitucional 18071910, Alfragide: Texto Editora. Caetano, Marcello (1981), Constituições Portuguesas, Lisboa: Verbo. Castro, Zília Osório de (1990), Cultura e Política – Manuel Borges Carneiro e o Vintismo, 2 Vol., Lisboa: I.N.I.C.. —. (2002), Ideias Políticas (Séculos XVII-XIX), Lisboa: Livros Horizonte. Castro, Zília Osório de (dir.), Cluny, Isabel Pereira and Marques, Sara (coords.) (2002), Dicionário do Vintismo e do primeiro Cartismo (1821-1823 e 1826-1828), II Vol., Lisboa: Assembleia da República; Porto: Edições Afrontamento. Catroga, Fernando (2000), O republicanismo em Portugal – da formação ao 5 de Outubro de 1910, Lisboa: Editorial Notícias. —. (2001), Antero de Quental – História, socialismo, política, Lisboa: Editorial Notícias. —. (2010), “O Republicanismo Português (Cultura, história e política)”, Revista da Faculdade de Letras HISTÓRIA, III Série, vol. 11, 95-119. Coelho, Trindade (1906), Manual Politico do Cidadão Portuguez, Lisboa: Parceria A. M. Pereira – Livraria Editora. Costa, Fernando Marques da, Domingues, Francisco Contente, and Monteiro, Nuno Gonçalves (orgs.) (1989), Do Antigo Regime ao Liberalismo – 1750-1850, Lisboa: Veja. Esperem e Verão! Textos Republicanos Clandestinos de 1848 (Introdução e selecção de textos de Fernando Pereira Marques) (1990), Lisboa: Alfa. Freire, João (2009), “Proudhon, o anarquismo e o movimento operário”, in Gama, Manuel (org.), Proudhon – No Bicentenário do seu Nascimento, Braga: Centro de Estudos Lusíadas. Herculano, Alexandre (1983-1986), Opúsculos, Tomos I e II (Questões públicas), Lisboa: Bertrand. Hespanha, António Manuel (2004), Guiando a mão invisível – Direitos, Estado e lei no liberalismo monárquico português, Coimbra: Almedina. Homem, Amadeu Carvalho (2001), Da Monarquia à República, Viseu: Palimage. —. (2009), Teófilo Braga, Ramalho Ortigão, Antero de Quental – Diálogos Difíceis, Coimbra: Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra. Martins, Pedro Miguel (1996), “Ideologia e Temporalidade: o pensamento político de Francisco Manuel Trigoso (1777-1838)”, DIACRÍTICA, nº 11, 667-687. —. (2011), “As clivagens ideológicas do republicanismo português (18701910)”, in Rosas, João Cardoso and Moura, Vítor (orgs.), Pensar

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Radicalmente a Humanidade – Ensaios em homenagem ao Prof. Doutor Acílio da Silva Estanqueiro Rocha, Famalicão: Húmus. Meneses, João de (1975), A nova fase do socialismo, Lisboa: Guimarães. Mesquita, António Pedro (2006), O Pensamento Político Português no Século XIX, Lisboa: I.N.-C.M.. Miranda, Jorge (2004), As Constituições Portuguesas – De 1822 ao texto actual da Constituição, Lisboa: Livraria Petrony. Mónica, Maria Filomena (1984), O Movimento Socialista em Portugal (1875-1934), Lisboa: I.N.C.M.. Oliveira, César de (s.d.), A Comuna de Paris e os socialistas portugueses – introdução, selecção de textos e notas por César Oliveira, Porto: Brasília Editora. Pereira, José Esteves (1974), Silvestre Pinheiro Ferreira – O pensamento político, Coimbra: Universidade de Coimbra. —. (1976), “Henriques Nogueira e a conjuntura portuguesa (1846-1851)”, Revista de História das Ideias, Vol. I, 159-178. —. (2004), Percursos de História das Ideias, Lisboa, I.N.-C.M.. Quental, Antero (1859-1896; 1982), Prosas Sócio-Políticas, Lisboa: I.N.C.M.. Ramos, Rui (2004), “A Revolução Republicana Portuguesa de 1910-1911: Uma Reinterpretação”, in As Revoluções Contemporâneas, Lisboa: Edições Colibri. Rosas, Fernando (2003), Portugal Século XX (1890-1976) – Pensamento e Acção Política, Lisboa: Editorial Notícias. Santos, Manuel Pinto dos (1986), Monarquia Constitucional – Organização e Relações do Poder Governamental com a Câmara dos Deputados 1834-1910, Lisboa: Assembleia da República. Tomás, Manuel Fernandes (1982), A Revolução de 1820, Lisboa: Editorial Caminho. Vieira, Benedicta Maria Duque (1987), A Revolução de Setembro e a Discussão Constitucional de 1837, Lisboa: Edições Salamandra.

ELECTORAL REFORM AND IDEOLOGICAL CONTINGENCY: HAS COMPULSORY VOTING MOVED FROM RIGHT TO LEFT? ANTHOULA MALKOPOULOU*

Reforms of key electoral standards have usually coincided with historical moments of political change. In principle, new electoral rules are designed in order to promote democratic inclusion and fair representation. In practice, however, partisan interests, calculations of electoral spoils and strategic predictions of political influence have a considerable impact on the positions of political parties vis-à-vis such reforms. Because of the importance of the strategic aspects, the ideological dimension of electoral reforms has been inconspicuous and very often overlooked by scholars. In reality, however, debates over such reforms are a rich repository of ideological views regarding the foundations, structure and ethics of representative democracy. This discursive antagonism over electoral reform between partisan groups is well captured by the Left-Right dichotomy. It should be recalled that the terms “left” and “right” in politics drew their meanings originally from the spatial sitting order inside the British parliament (Laponce, 1981: 47). They should therefore be understood and used as metaphorical counter-concepts, hetero-normative antonyms that acquire their historicalpolitical meaning in contradistinction to each other (Koselleck, 1985: 159197) within the conflict-generating architecture of parliamentarism. Indeed, parliamentary democracies are designed as adversarial systems, where parties compete rhetorically on agenda-setting and policy-making (Palonen et al, 2013). One aspect that defines and reinforces this competition is the use, deployment or invocation of political concepts — including the terms

 *

Postdoctoral researcher in Political Thought at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

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“left” and “right” themselves — as rhetorical tools (White, 2011). The use of concepts allows ideological differences between parties to emerge and be constantly redefined in response to specific issues and demands of the time (Freeden, 1994). Electoral reform also reveals the structural anatomy of parliamentary competition, since it puts the very rules of such competition at stake. Hence, for the purposes of this paper, “left” and “right” are seen not only as ideological systems of classification, but also as two rival political entities whose theoretical arguments should be viewed alongside their goal to occupy government office. This dual definition of the Left-right, on the one hand, the theoretical or ideological, on the other, the political and strategic, is crucial for comprehending parliamentary debates on electoral reform. In this context, the question of compulsory voting – i.e. the legal obligation of voters to cast a ballot – is a good example of an electoral reform in which political interests and ideological arguments have merged (Birch, 2009). Focusing mostly on the latter, my aim is to explain how compulsory voting moved from being a classical right-wing issue in the past to a theme advocated primarily by centre-left parties today. Is this transformation linked to the dual semantics of Left and Right mentioned above? Or does it betray a political transformation of the supporting parties? If the latter, has the transformation affected their ideological or rather their operational principles? Since the origins of compulsory voting can be traced to the nineteenth century, these questions will be addressed by reconstructing the political and conceptual “footprint” of the debate in its longe dureé.

Compulsory Voting as a Conservative Project: The Concept of “Voting Function” The idea of making voting obligatory is of rather Francophone conception. Inspired by its sporadic practice in several Swiss cantons, French conservatives started to advocate compulsory voting in the 1870s and continued until the 1920s, by which time the idea had been picked up in many other countries. Of course, the language of voting duty had persisted since the time of the French Revolution, when royalists used it as their main argument against the extension of suffrage to the working classes (Malkopoulou, 2011: 30-34). In this context, suffrage was described as a “function”, as opposed to a “right”. Whereas the latter was considered a birthright of every human being, a function could not be granted to just anybody. On the right wing of the Revolution, voting was considered such a weighty responsibility noble task that it required one to

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have the noble capacity to transcend one's individual interests. It had to be exercised “for all”, that is to say, in the interests of society as a whole (Barnave, 1791: 366). This view was interwoven with the more specific claim that not everyone possessed the qualities to exercise suffrage in such a selfsacrificing manner (Kahan, 2003: 38; Rosavallon, 1992: 269-327). According to Guizot, the source of the right to vote was “capacity”, which was determined by education, independence, and one’s sense of order and conservation (1831: 278). Guizot’s requirements reflected the ideals of republican freedom, virtue, self-sacrifice and communal altruism, a legacy the French had inherited from their “noble” ancestors (Shklar, 1990). With this emphasis on the demands of civic participation, the theory of voting function served to justify the exclusion of the majority of the population. It is within this debate that the concept of voting function (or voting duty) has acquired and very long maintained its special semantic value, as an antonym of the “right to vote” and as joined to the twin notions of political capacity and electoral exclusion (Malkopoulou, 2011: 30-34). This rhetorical legacy of voting function also underlies the earliest justifications of compulsory voting. In the first attempt to introduce the practice in the French legislation, the legal obligation to vote was defended as the logical continuation of the idea that voting was a duty (De L’Espinasse, 1849: 659). The French legislature proposed that registered voters who failed to attend polling stations on election-day without a legitimate excuse be punished by fine. The main aim was to ensure that rural voters would continue to undertake the long and arduous journeys required in order to reach the regional administrative centres where they could cast their ballot (Malkopoulou, 2011: 42). The proposal was launched by the royalists, who wanted to encourage participation of their supporters from the countryside, especially since this was being deliberately obstructed by the Legitimist faction (Kale, 1997). At the same time, since universal suffrage was introduced in the same year, the ultimate goal was to rally the royalists and thus provide an effective response to the unity and voting zeal of the radicals, who were the royalists’ most feared opponents (Huard, 1991: 53). To satisfy these exigencies, compulsory voting was linked, somewhat easily, to the earlier ideas of “voting function”, despite the goal having switched from formal exclusion to maximal inclusion. A more inventive theory was proposed by Belgian conservatives of the Catholic Party, who in 1893 successfully introduced compulsory voting by justifying it as a “mandate” to protect the disenfranchised. According to the Prime Minister, Auguste Beernaert, electorship was: “a mandate from

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two points of view: a mandate from the society that confers it, and a mandate with regard to non-voters” (Beernaert, 1893: 1539). The concept of voting as an act of defending the disenfranchised can be seen as an expression of a Durkheimian-type of political solidarism. Political community is linked together by a moral bond, which produces a feeling of indebtedness to one another (Duguit, 1923: 447-453). Hence, those who could vote were obligated to do so, because they were expected to express not only their own interests, but the interests of those without the franchise and of society as a whole, in a spirit of political solidarity. However, at the same time, voting “mandate” is a conceptual extension of the older, exclusive logic of voting function at the expense of large segments of the population, especially women. In the words of Catholic Party senator Lammens, “the voter is charged with a real mandate, even from the non-voters, such as minors, women and the incapacitated; he is called upon to defend their interests via the ballot” (Lammens, 1893: 421). Instead of an aristocratic duty owed to the king or state by the noble classes, voting was now re-described as the duty of all adult male heads of families to protect and represent the views of the disenfranchised. Whereas the first concept of voting “duty” relied on an economistic ethic of selection, the new idea of voting “mandate” reflected a rather anthropological distinction between politically empowered – male – and disempowered – female – subjects. In other words, compulsory voting relied on a paternalistic interpretation of the voting duty as the responsibility of males to protect the weaker members of their families1.

Organicism and Republican Freedom The ideal of popular participation was deeply engrained in the philosophy of republican organicism that underlay all the years of the Third Republic. Indeed, its main exponent, Alfred Fouillée, thought of the moral obligation to vote as coming from the organic subordination of the individual to the state. The voter becomes “at the moment of the vote, the representative of the entire nation, which by entrusting him with a responsibility imposes on him a duty” (Fouillée, 1884: 109). Political society is a united body, marked by “the diversity of its organs and functions” (Laffitte, 1888: 16). In this context, the voter needs to exercise suffrage just as an organ needs to function in order to support a living

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This idea is comparable with the Burkean concept of “trust”, endorsed by British Conservatives before the full enfranchisement of women in Great Britain (Burnham, 1926: 601-21)

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organism. In other words, voters are seen as organs of the state and the act of voting is regarded as a function. “By voting, one might say, all the cells of the body politic are called upon to do their share in intellectual and volitional life, to become in that way conscious and governing, like the cells of the brain” (Fouillée, 1884: 168). In this sense, voting was not only seen as a matter of survival for citizens and the state alike, but also as an instrument of civic learning and growth. Indeed, considerable attention has been paid to the instructive significance of compulsory voting, which is often referred to as a parallel of compulsory education. In particular, Moreau argued that it could make those citizens who did not care about society or the nation look beyond their “minuscule personal concerns” and pleasures and engage in at least a modicum of civic action (Moreau, 1896: 46). This idea convinced even some republican deputies during the French Third Republic to momentarily throw their support behind compulsory voting. For example, Bardoux claimed that obligatory voting encouraged even the humblest farmer to give his opinion about what general political direction the state should adopt, to judge his deputy and to reflect on what kind of government he wanted (Bardoux, 1880: 10940-10941). “Slowly, gradually, the voter by going to the ballot box will become aware of the seriousness of his role. Obligation will thus be an instrument of education” (Barthélemy, 1923: 138). It would enable the systematic formation of nonpartisan opinions on public issues and would teach voters to appreciate the responsibility that had been bestowed on them with the right to vote. Hence, already in the 1880s there are elements of support for the traditionally monarchist issue of compulsory voting among the (centreright) French republicans. Yet, compulsory voting was mostly opposed by republicans and Left radicals as a breach of the inviolable freedoms of voters, who were the core units of national sovereignty. Placing impositions on citizens thus constituted a limitation of national sovereignty. According to Moreau, however, this “arrogant, egoistic, individual conception of the right to vote” (Moreau, 1896: 49), was excessive and would allow politicians to manipulate the uppity masses. Moreau felt that the demand for such an unlimited and unaccountable use of sovereignty among voters was just as dangerous as the arbitrary authority of royal sovereignty. It could lead to an uncontrolled tyranny of active voters over those who lacked voting rights completely. Belgian proponents of compulsory voting described obligatory voting as a complement rather than obstacle to freedom. The liberty of voters to determine their participation in voting was not absolute: it was conditioned by the necessity for a “complete” expression

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of the national will and by the voters’ obligation towards disenfranchised members of society. “His right in elections to do whatever he wants and to abstain is limited by the rights and liberties of others and by public safety” (Crombez, 1865: 99). This interpretation was consistent with the conservative Belgian government’s re-conceptualisation of voting function as a horizontal mandate of social solidarity. Protection of “bourgeois democracy” from its domestic enemies was the motivation of a report in favour of compulsory voting drafted by Joseph Barthélemy in 1922 and published a year later. A universal obligation to vote, he argued, would prevent the creation of governments by the radical – fascist and socialist – minorities who benefitted from the widespread abstention of the great majority. These radical groups were pronounced enemies of parliamentary institutions, even though socialists were using the parliamentary elections with mass voting as a means to establish themselves. They maintained a well-organised party support network and therefore did not need obligatory voting to mobilise their voters. Yet, based on the assumption that the socialists’ numbers were small, an electoral victory by them would be a “false mirror” of public opinion (Barthélemy, 1923). Here, the ideal of descriptive representation was underlined as an instrument for fairness, social harmony and a functional democracy2. In sum, throughout the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century, compulsory voting was endorsed mostly by political thinkers and parties of the monarchist and republican Right in France and by the conservative Catholic Party in Belgium. The rhetoric of aristocratic voting function is recast with elements of republican organicism, political solidarism and (after the introduction of universal male suffrage) paternalism. In this context, the concepts of obligation, representation and freedom are made intelligible through a discourse of enforcement, which at the same time served a number of strategic considerations and partisan interests.

Compulsory Voting as a Socialist Project: The Quest for Egalitarian Participation After a decades-long silence, the topic emerged again in parliamentary, policy and scholarly agendas in the 1990s, not least because of a

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Besides French conservatives, some French republicans (Letellier, 1889: 345346), as well as Belgian Catholics (Beernaert, 1893: 1540), used the same argument in favour of compulsory voting.

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continuous decline in voter participation in post-industrial democracies. A resurgence of research, advocacy and debate on compulsory voting has taken place over the last 15 years in several countries – the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Belgium, Australia, France – where it is supported mostly by left-wing Labour or Social Democrat parties. Hence, regardless of whether the inner logic and argumentation around the topic has shifted or not, the protagonists of the reform have switched roles: compulsory voting is no longer an issue owned by monarchists and conservatives, but has been passed to social democrats. Yet, along with its supporters, the ideology behind compulsory voting has also changed. Now the main argument in favour of mandatory turnout is the restoration of formal political equality. It is argued that the purpose of the reform is not to get everyone to vote, but to maximize equality of political opportunity. Protecting the equality of opportunities among citizens to participate in public affairs is a minimal requirement of any democratic state. Thus, by obliging voters to attend the polls, “the state operates a kind of elaborate affirmative action system in order to ensure that everyone, regardless of contingent status, and obstacles experienced, is enabled to deploy this capacity” (Hill, 2002: 91). In other words, it aims to fulfil the universal right to vote and, consequently, the democratic imperative of social inclusion through suffrage (Engelen, 2007). This claim for equality was first made by Arend Lijphart (1997), who on the basis of empirical evidence suggested that voluntary voter participation is biased against disadvantaged groups in society. According to his research, citizens with higher income, education and age are more likely to participate3. Given the responsiveness of politicians to the demands of their voters, this inequality in turnout feeds back into policies that favour the active voters. Hence, a vicious circle is created, where the concentration of power and overrepresentation of privileged groups leads to their further political and social domination of others. In this sense, compulsory voting prevents “socially inherited” structural inequalities from being reflected in electoral turnout and public policies. In the words of Gareth Thomas, Labour MP for Harrow West: “If rates of turnout are different between sections of the electorate – between different communities, or between those on different incomes – there must be a risk of political parties prioritising the concerns of those most likely to vote. We are not at that stage in this country – Labour members are certainly not

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Similar empirical studies supporting the Lijphart hypothesis, which was largely based on data from the United States, were subsequently conducted in Great Britain and Belgium.

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– but some commentators certainly believe that low turnouts in America have focused the collective minds of the parties on those who vote regularly and argue, in turn, that the sense of alienation from the political process has increased among marginalised groups” (Thomas, 2001: 8603). Similarly, already in 1995 an electoral manifesto the Flemish Socialists declared: “Compulsory voting guarantees that the parliament is not like a company where a small minority of rich stockholders have the power because most small stockholders are absent… [Compulsory voting] ensures that each and every person is included in the democratic system. It avoids leaving out some people and ensures that the less-educated, weakest ones are on the political agenda” (cited in Pilet, 2007: 9-10). These social egalitarian concerns were echoed also by the Christian Democrats, in the words of Herman Van Rompuy (CVP): “We must realise that the first ones who will not exercise their right to vote are the weakest citizens” (cited in Pilet, 2007: 9-10). The convergence between the Flemish Socialists and the Christian Democrats here takes rather the form of a shared appeal to the large masses of voters that constitute their voter base. Both parties are commonly believed to benefit from the system of compulsory voting that exists in Belgium, as this allows them to draw upon their traditional support base and fixed constituencies. According to estimates, these parties tend to do well among sections of the electorate with low socioeconomic backgrounds and traditionally low voter turnout, so abolition of compulsory voting would harm their electoral performance (Massicotte, 2004: 34). Hence, ideological concerns about equal representation and strategic considerations about the consequences of compulsory voting feed into each other at this point.

Leftist Readings of Liberty and Civic-mindedness As in the debates of the past century, compulsory voting always touches upon the thorny question of freedom and its relation to political participation. In the past, organic conceptions of the state and a sense of noblesse oblige towards the disenfranchised justified restriction of the freedom to abstain. On the contrary, the contemporary (Left) interpretation of individual liberty accepts political participation as intrinsic to liberty, so that a legal obligation to participate is regarded as actually strengthening individual liberty. Justine Lacroix (2008) argues that this participatory conception of positive liberty has been supported by many classic liberal thinkers since the nineteenth century. In her mind, support for the putative

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“right” of individuals to abstain (Lever, 2010)4 only encourages “freeriding” in society and should be dismissed as a utopian libertarian or anarchistic view of liberty. A less communitarian, more neo-republican understanding of the relation between compulsory voting and liberty is offered by Heather Lardy. Her interpretation relies mostly on Philip Pettit’s concept of negative liberty as the absence of domination. Whereas the classic negative concept of freedom requires the absence of any interference, when freedom is understood as non-domination it is identified with the absence of arbitrary interference. Consequently, freedom is compromised by the mere existence of a dominating power, even if this power does not actively bend the will of subjects to its own will (Pettit, 1997: 88). The domination of non-voting citizens by voting citizens through their choice of government and the enforcement of its policies is an example of how neo-republican liberty can be harmed. In Lardy’s words, “non-voting brings with it a serious risk of domination by those classes which do vote regularly, and by the governors whom they elect” (Lardy, 2004: 314). In this light, a legal enforcement of voting is a welcome safeguard against such domination. Thus, compulsory voting is in line with Pettit’s neorepublican concept of liberty, which is defined in conjunction with equality. In addition, centre-left parties today insist that compulsory voting would promote the development of a more clear and effective citizen presence in the political arena. First, an obligation would force voters out of the silent ambiguity of their abstention. This argument is built on the assumption that the message of abstention is not very clear; it may signal political protest, tacit consent or general indifference, which may in turn involve a specific policy, a government plan, the range of parties available or the political system altogether (Hill, 2002: 93). Elections are like a rhetorical podium, from which voters can give a clear and positive judgment on parties and candidates; by not voting, abstainers refuse to make a judgment. Because the political will of abstainers then remains unknown, there is no “correct” reading of the message sent by electoral abstention. More often than not, parties interpret voter turnouts (and election results for that matter) in the way that suits them best. In this sense, compulsory voting, by channelling voters’ concerns through the

 4

Along the same lines, the British Conservative Party Chairman Lord Parkinson opposed compulsory voting, stating that “It is a democratic right, I believe, not to vote”. On the other hand, Liberal Democrats are not opposed in principle, but reject the imposition of fines for non-voting, which they would like replaced by incentives for voting (Sear and Strickland, 2003: 4).

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ballot box, ensures a clearer message about what kind of government they want. Thus, it protects their abstention from being given a biased interpretation or being exploited for partisan ends Second, an obligation to vote promotes public awareness and political literacy. Compulsory voting can increase the frequency of political discussions, through which citizens acquire knowledge of politics and an interest in further public engagement (Milazzo, 2008). By discussing political matters, voters learn about political events, hear alternative views and become exposed to different political ideas. Such activities expand their political sophistication and education, since they thereby receive an informal training in political rhetoric and debate. A legal obligation to vote can reinvigorate electoral participation as an opportunity through which voters learn how to develop political arguments and, in this sense, become occasional politicians or parliamentarians for a day (Palonen, 2010). The goal of developing civic mindedness forms an important part of proparticipation argumentation today.

Conclusions: Compulsory Voting, Left or Right? In this paper, I have tried to show that the debate over compulsory voting has produced a great bulk of intellectual argumentation about the relation between state and citizens. Even if the motives of the parties involved are tactical, their arguments nevertheless provide a key to understanding the ideological differences between parties and across times. The first point of note is that the language of voting duty, endorsed by right-wing parties at the turn of the twentieth century, has been replaced in the current debate by a left-wing language of equality and civic awakening. This is mainly due to the fact that in the late nineteenth century compulsory voting was promoted in the context of a limited (nonuniversal) or plural voting system. In other words, voting inequality was considered a desirable end in itself and compulsory voting was meant to deepen it. In addition, women were not enfranchised voters yet, which explains by and large the background of using the rhetoric of protection and duty towards other citizens. In this sense, compulsory voting was a conservative instrument to preserve existing hierarchies. By contrast, today compulsory voting is presented as a mechanism to safeguard against the inequality and domination that may be exacerbated by nonparticipation. There is less of issue about formal inequality and disenfranchisement of voting groups than in the past, hence the emphasis has shifted to substantive inequality. The nineteenth-century aristocratic

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and organicist ideas in favour of compulsory voting are replaced today by egalitarian and neo-republican arguments. Political participation is justified not as a duty to protect the unrepresented members of society, but as a cornerstone of political equality and, consequently, of liberty. The second point is the normative change in the contemporary defence of compulsory voting; its argumentation is built on a narrowly individualistic understanding of pursuing one’s self-interest, rather than protecting the interests of fellow citizens. In the Belgian debate of 1893, obligation was justified on the basis of indebtedness to the disenfranchised and to the entire society. The citizen, seen as an indispensable organ of the state, had to consider not only his own interest, but also that of other citizens and society as a whole, before casting a ballot. On the contrary, today there is hardly any mention of how voting might promote an altruistic sense of political responsibility, a non-individualistic link with other voters and with society; Canadian Senator Mac Harb is the only exception (2005: 5). Instead, contemporary advocates emphasise that voting as an obligation would safeguard the individual interests of each citizen. Active voters are seen as competitors, who advance candidates that cater to their needs and neglect or even harm the interests of those who abstain. In addition to making their opinions count, voting enhances the political capacities of the individual citizen, such as being informed and able to make political judgments. Yet, voting is not seen as a required function to make the state work, but as a special right that citizens must use for their own interests. Throughout the change of roles and the increasing individualism, however, the proposed system has always been in line with the strategic electoral interests of the parties that have supported it. For example, Belgian Catholics wanted compulsory voting to rally their supporters from the rural farmlands, in order to secure a victory against the urban Liberal Party Similarly, when the French conservatives promoted the idea in the 1920s, they were led by a tactical concern to make strategic advances against the enthusiastic and well-organised socialists. Today, centre-left parties in favour of compulsory voting are also driven by strategic interests. Voter fatigue is indeed causing not only a weakening of centreleft parties, but also a redirection of voters to new parties, most of which are radical or populist. Making voting obligatory could be a way to counteract the demobilisation of centre-left voters who have traditionally come from socio-economically marginal groups. To this end, centre-left parties in several western democracies are defending compulsory voting as a policy to promote political and social equality that is effective and universal. Such rhetoric enables them to

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introduce compulsory voting as a technical means for rallying their discouraged voters, as well as to reclaim their symbolic role as the primary defenders of social democracy. By doing this, however, they end up by a curious route defending the very electoral reform that their predecessors for many decades opposed.

References Primary Sources Bardoux, Jacques (1880), Journal Officiel, Annexe 2950, 13 July, 1094010941. Barnave, Antoine (1791), “Speech to the National Assembly (11 August 1791)”, Archives parlementaires de 1787 à 1860; 8-17, 19, 21-33. Assemblée nationale constituante, t.29. Du 29 juillet au 27 août 1791, ed. Mavidal and Laurent, Paris: Dupont, 1875-1889. Beernaert, Auguste (1893), Annales Parlementaires, French Chamber of Representatives, Session of 30 May 1893, 1539-1553. Burnham, Viscount (1926), Parliamentary Debates, House of Lords, 17 March 1926, vol. 63, columns 601-21. Crombez, Louis (1865), “Fraudes en Matière Électorale” Report to the Central Section, Parliamentary Documents, 203, Belgian Chamber of Representatives, Session of 2 June 1865. De L’Espinasse (1849), Moniteur Universel, 27 February 1849, 659. Gareth, Thomas (2001), Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, 27 November 2001, vol. 375, columns 860-3. Guizot, François (1831), Moniteur Universel, 10 February 1831, 278 (1). Senator Lammens, Count de (1893), Annales Parlementaires, Belgian Senate, Session of 12 July 1893. Lettelier, Alfred (1889), Journal Officiel, Annexe 3520, 7 February 1889, 345-346. Sear, Chris and Strickland, Pat (2003), “Standard Note: Compulsory Voting.” House of Commons Library, SN/PC/954.

Secondary Sources Barthélemy, Joseph (1923), “Pour le Vote Obligatoire”, Revue du droit public et de la science politique, 101-167. Birch, Sarah (2009), Full Participation: A Comparative Study of Compulsory Voting, New York: United Nations University Press.

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Duguit, Léon (1923), Traité de Droit Constitutionnel, t.2, Paris: Fontemoign. Engelen, Bart (2007), “Why Compulsory Voting Can Enhance Democracy?”, Acta Politica, 42, 23-39. Fouillée, Alfred (1884), La Propriété Sociale et la Démocratie, Paris: Hachette. Freeden, Michael (1994), “Political Concepts and Ideological Morphology”, Journal of Political Philosophy, 2, no.2, 140-164. Senator Harb, Mac (2005), “The Case for Mandatory Voting in Canada”, Canadian Parliamentary Review, 28, no. 2, 4-6. Hill, Lisa (2002), “On the Reasonableness of Compelling Citizens to ‘Vote’: the Australian Case”, Political Studies, 50, no.1, 80-101. Huard, Raymond (1991), Le Suffrage Universel en France 1848-1946, Paris: Aubier. Kahan, Alan (2003), Liberalism in Nineteenth-Century Europe: The Political Culture of Limited Suffrage, New York: Palgrave. Kale, Steven (1997), “French Legitimists and the Politics of Abstention, 1830-70”, French Historical Studies, 20, no. 4, Autumn, 665-701. Koselleck, Reinhart (1985), Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time, Cambridge and London: MIT Press. Lacroix, Justine (2008), “Du Suffrage Universel à la Participation Universelle: Pour Une Obligation Libérale de se Rendre aux Urnes”, Raison Publique, 8, 95-111. Laffitte, Paul (1888), Le Suffrage Universel et le Régime Parlementaire, Paris: Hachette. Laponce, Jean (1981), Left and Right: The Topography of Political Perceptions, Toronto: Toronto University Press. Lardy, Heather (2004), “Is There a Right Not to Vote?”, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 24, no. 2, 303-321. Lever, Anabelle (2010), “Compulsory Voting: A Critical Perspective”, British Journal of Political Science, 40, 897-915. Lijphart, Arend (1997), “Unequal Participation: Democracy’s Unresolved Dilemma”, American Political Science Review, 91, no. 2, 1-14. Malkopoulou, Anthoula (2011), Democracy’s Duty: The History of Political Debates on Compulsory Voting, PhD Diss., University of Jyväskylä. Massicotte, Louis, Blais, Andrè and Yoshinaka, A. (2004), Establishing the Rules of the Game: Election Laws in Democracies, Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Milazzo, Cathleen (2008), “Forced to Vote: the Impact of Compulsory Voting Laws on Political Discussion”, Paper presented at the MPSA

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Annual National Conference, Chicago, Illinois, 3 April 2008, in http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p267227_index.html (accessed 5 July 2012). Moreau, Felix (1896), “Le Vote Obligatoire: Principe et Sanctions”, Revue politique et parlementaire, VII, 36-69. Palonen, Kari, Rosales, José María and Turkka, Tapani (2013), “Introduction: The Parliamentary Politics of Dissensus”, in Palonen, Kari, Rosales, José María and Turkka, Tapani (eds.), The Politics of Dissensus: Parliament in Debate, Santander: Cantabria University Press & McGraw Hill (forthcoming). Palonen, Kari (2010), “The Parliamentarisation of Elections. A Redescription of the Relationship Between Two Concepts”, Redescriptions. A Yearbook of Political Thought, Conceptual History and Feminist Theory, 14, 133-156. Pilet, Jean-Benoit (2007), “Choosing Compulsory Voting in Belgium: Strategy and Ideas Combined”, Paper presented at the ECPR Joint Sessions, Helsinki, 7-11 May 2007. Pettit, Philip (1997), Republicanism: A Theory of Freedom and Government, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Rosanvallon, Pierre (1992), Le Sacre du Citoyen, Paris: Gallimard. Shklar, Judith (1990), “Montesquieu and the New Republicanism”, in Bock, Gisela, Skinner, Quentin, and Viroli, Maurizio (eds.), Machiavelli and Republicanism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. White, Jonathan (2011), “Left and Right as Political Resources”, Journal of Political Ideologies, 16, no.2, 123-144.

IV. IDEOLOGIES AND POLITICAL PARTIES

INTRODUCTION

The chapters in this section on “Ideologies and Political Parties” deals with case studies of parties that challenge traditional political ideologies and, consequently, shift their position on the established left-right scale. Although they address particular parties in different countries, the chapters allow us to think about the ideological underpinning and the transformation processes of similar parties in the same political family. In fact, the parties these chapters address are not only contemporary and interesting cases per se, but their experience is useful for to a wider political analysis. Eunice Goes tackles the British Labour Party’s performance and discourse under the leadership of Ed Miliband, focusing whether Miliband drove Labour to the left, closer to traditional social democracy and further away from New Labour’s acceptance of market capitalism and socialeconomic inequalities. When Miliband became the leader of Labour Party, his programme presented a neo-Keynesian strategy to deal with the crisis, and his narrative was quite egalitarian and favoured more state regulation of markets. He developed a discourse against “predator capitalism” and in favour of “responsible capitalism”. However, Goes’ analysis of Miliband’s speeches, interviews, newspaper columns, shows that negative polls and internal criticisms led Miliband to adopt more ambiguous positions in order to appease the critics (without losing his previous supporters). He accepted spending cuts and austerity measures implemented by the government, whilst attempting to sustain his former position, one that would produce very different results if were it to be implemented. Miliband’s “One Nation” speech seemed to define his party’s main goals more clearly, making it look as a social democratic alternative was gaining ground within New Labour. But, as Goes concludes, it is still too early to know whether this apparent shift to the left means a real return of this centre-left party to social democracy. Donald Davison describes the Tea Party in the U.S. as a decentralized movement of conservative activists connected by some shared elements that distinguish it from other conservatives. Davison uses empirical data to demonstrate that Tea Party supporters are religious traditionalists; they have an aversion to taxation, to “big government” and to its economic regulation and intervention in social life (which they believe limits

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individual liberty); and they show racial and xenophobic prejudices. Besides, these partiers are angry about contemporary politics and want a return to what they consider to be “American original values”. The author demonstrates that high mobilization and the Tea Party’s extreme conservatism has allowed it to dominate the Republican Party and pushed the latter to the far right. Thus, the American party system is now more polarized, with an increased ideological distance between the Democratic and Republican parties. At the same time, an intra-Republican Party division between traditional conservatives and Tea Party supporters has developed. The political centre is therefore fragmented and, because of these changes in the traditional ideological left-right continuum, there is a growing group of voters who feel that they are no longer represented by their party. As Davison concludes, the Tea Party has shaped (and changed) American politics – at least in the short term. Dirk Rochtus and Gerd Strohmeier ask whether The Left (Die Linke) is an extreme-left party that opposes the German democratic regime and should be considered unconstitutional. The authors refer to German Basic Law, which protects a free and pluralist democratic order, and ask if any form of extremism (either right or left-wing) is a threat to democracy. The authors begin by distinguishing two types of political extremism (with different objectives, strategies and intensities): hard and soft extremism. “Hard extremism” opposes democracy and wants to replace it with a totalitarian regime. “Soft extremism” aims to transform parts of the democratic regime, but adapts to democratic rules and does not support violent groups. The authors then analyze the party’s manifestos and the speeches of its leaders and conclude that Die Linke is quite a heterogeneous party: it includes several radical proposals and is involved in some left-wing extremist activities, but also brings together moderate reformist and democratic socialists. Rochtus and Strohmeier conclude that Die Linke has an extremist attitude, but does not contest the democratic regime itself, so it is a “soft extremist” party that is compatible with democracy and should not be declared unconstitutional. Patrícia Fernandes also analyzes the new Portuguese environmentalist party, the Party for Animals and Nature (PAN), in order to understand if it is a left- or a right-wing party. The PAN is the first party in Portugal to bring the issue of the moral and legal status and interests of all sentient beings to the political arena. Since its inception, the party has declared that it is not a left, centre or right-wing party. Fernandes considers that this ideological neutrality does not exist and argues that the PAN should be placed on the left of the political spectrum.

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In the author’s opinion, there is a direct link between the party and utilitarianism, a philosophical movement that should always be seen as leftist. The fight against the exploitation of non-human animals by man is central in the official thinking of the PAN – and is interpreted as an extension of the fight against oppression among men. This is a major principle in the thinking of Peter Singer, an utilitarian philosopher who is known for his work on animal liberation. In addition, both the PAN and Singer use sentience as the criterion to determine who belongs to the moral community and, thus, both include nonhuman animals in that community. As Fernandes tells us, when one talks about a moral community, one invokes equal consideration of the interests of all members of that community. In the case of non-human animals, this requires that we abandon what Singer calls “specism” – by analogy with racism. This reflects a utilitarian approach and involves a struggle against a particular kind of inequality. Considering Bobbio’s and Lukes’s egalitarian criterion to distinguish left from right, Fernandes places utilitarianism and the PAN on the left side of the political spectrum, since they are fighting for new dimensions of equality. Ana Rita Ferreira

THE LEFT AND THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS: THE LABOUR PARTY IN SEARCH OF A NEW ECONOMIC NARRATIVE EUNICE GOES*

Introduction When Ed Miliband became leader of the Labour Party in September of 2010 he promised to “turn the page” on New Labour. He claimed to be part of a “new generation” of Labour politicians, with “different attitudes, different ways of doing politics” (Miliband, 2010c). But is he really? This chapter seeks to examine whether Ed Miliband’s leadership has moved the Labour Party beyond the neoliberal orthodoxies of New Labour and whether this “new direction” fits into a social-democratic narrative. In this analysis, I will focus on Miliband’s approach to the economy. I chose this policy area for two main reasons: firstly, because the embrace of market capitalism together with the acceptance of social inequalities became the hallmarks of the New Labour project; secondly, because one of the defining features of social-democracy has been a critical approach to capitalism. This analysis assumes that ideas count in politics and will reflect a morphological approach to ideology (Freeden, 1998), as I assume that though ideologies change and adapt to new political, social and economics contexts and intellectual frameworks they are defined by a set of core and adjacent concepts. These concepts and their conceptions are not fixed – that is, there is movement between core and adjacent concepts – however they are integral components of specific ideologies. Thus, a socialdemocratic ideology will always incorporate a commitment to greater equality.

 *

Associate Professor in Communication and Politics at Richmond University ([email protected]).

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The Left and the Global Financial Crisis

I will start by briefly explaining how social-democracy has been shaped by a critique of capitalism. Secondly, I will present a brief overview of New Labour’s approach to market capitalism and its response to the 2008 financial crisis. These two brief sections will set-up the canvas against which Ed Miliband’s approach to the economy will be analysed. Drawing on speeches, articles, policy announcements and media reactions, I will also examine how Labour’s approach to capitalism articulates with Miliband’s discourse on equality with a view to understand what these stances say about the party’s current ideological trajectory. I will present Labour’s approach to the economy in chronological order in order to highlight the contextual, political and institutional factors that constrained and shaped Miliband’s economic narrative.

Capitalism and Social-Democracy One of the defining traits of social-democracy is a critique of capitalism. That said, this critique is not, to use Michael Freeden’s terminology, a core concept of social-democracy. Instead it is the background or context against which socialist ideologies developed in the past 100 years or so. As Michael Freeden argued in his seminal work on political ideologies, socialism emanated “as a protest movement against” capitalism (Freeden, 1998: 420). Thus, if we can sketch out the ideological origins of socialism and social-democracy we can perhaps say that if greater equality was a socialist aspiration, the existence of capitalism was seen as the main obstacle to achieve it (Sassoon, 1997: xxii). This realisation led to the development of several strands of socialism and which one of them articulated a somewhat particular form of dealing with capitalism. Some socialists aimed at overthrowing capitalism, others, like the SPD in the post Bad Godesberg period as well as the Scandinavian social-democratic parties were contented with just reforming it. However, from the 19th century until the 1980s democratic socialists and socialdemocrats shared grosso modo a critique of capitalism. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the triumph of the New Right in the United States and across Europe and the restructuring of Western economies (in particular the shift from an industrial economy to a services-based economy) plunged the European socialist and socialdemocratic left in a profound crisis. The disappearance of the traditional industrial working class as well as the relentless attack on statist solutions, the celebration of consumer choice as a liberator of human potential and the praise of private initiative as the central motor for economic innovation and prosperity for all, changed the terms of the political debate and created

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“a new economic morality”, based on market values (Gamble, 1996: 2526). This new morality dictated the acceptance of “neo-revisionism, which postulated that the goal of socialism was no longer to abolish capitalism, but to regulate it and to make it compatible with social justice” (Sassoon, 1997: 734).

New Labour’s Embrace of Market Capitalism The British Labour Party embraced this neo-revisionism with gusto. If in 1987 Neil Kinnock’s Policy Review endorsed the tenets of market capitalism, Blair’s New Labour took it to new heights. The dynamism of the free market was something to be celebrated and encouraged, according to the New Labour leadership. Entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, the financial industry and millionaires in general were the new class of individuals that New Labour promoted. An example of this new attitude was the infamous comment made by Peter Mandelson according to which “New Labour was entirely relaxed about people getting filthy rich provided that they paid taxes” (Toynbee, 2010). The result of this embrace was clear. As Colin Hay argued, the Labour Party “ceased effectively to be a social-democratic party, committed as it had by then become to a pervasive neo-liberal economic orthodoxy and to a basic acceptance of the legacy of the Thatcher years” (Hay, 1999: 42). The acceptance of the central tenets of neo-liberalism did not amount to its full endorsement. As Richard Heffernan reminds us, what was unusual about New Labour was the use of market instruments to promote reformist goals (Heffernan, 2011: 165). Thus, New Labour’s shift to the right did not amount to a complete conversion to the neo-liberal or Thatcherite agenda (Goes, 2002: 289). The use of state-power to redistribute wealth and to invest in public services does not sit easily with neo-liberalism. At best, New Labour represented a hybrid ideology, but one that had renounced to social-democratic ends and means (Goes, 2002: 291). This new approach was particularly visible in New Labour’s attitudes towards the financial services industry. From its early days in 1997, New Labour was eager to celebrate the neo-liberal order, and far from seeking to restrict or re-regulate the activities of the City of London, it praised and supported them by setting in place a system of “light touch regulation” (Gamble, 2009: 454; Beech, 2009: 529). An example of this new attitude was Gordon Brown’s uncritical support of the financial sector. Just a few months before the collapse of Northern Rock, he congratulated the financial services industry for its “remarkable achievements” which were a

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testimony of the “beginning of a new golden age for the City of London” (Brown, 2007). However, this creed was firmly tested with the financial crash of 2008. In order to save the financial system from collapse, the New Labour government bailed out and partially nationalised the bankrupt banks, in this case Northern Rock, Halifax Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and RBS. Moreover, to prevent a contagion to the rest of the economy the government implemented a stimulus package which included measures such as cutting interest rates to historical lows, introducing quantitative easing (Gamble, 2009: 456) and, reducing VAT from 17.5% to 15% for a period of 12 months (Casey, 2010: 14). The stimulus package was accompanied by a programme of public spending cuts and austerity measures with a view to reduce the public deficit which by then had skyrocketed to 11.3% of the GDP. But there was a noticeable absence in New Labour’s economic programme. There were no concrete proposals to regulate the financial sector. In principle, New Labour was in favour of stronger regulation, but in practice it feared that it would shrink the size of the British financial industry (Gamble, 2009: 458). The most important effect of the financial crisis was the transformation of the political debate. The size of the deficit became the main topic on the political agenda. In addition, the financial crisis was mainly defined as a crisis of the state which had mismanaged public finances (Crouch, 2011: 179). According to the narrative articulated by some sections of the media and by the opposition parties, the growth of the public deficit was not caused by the failures of the financial sector, but by irresponsible government borrowing. Setting the public debate in these terms meant that cuts in public spending and tax rises were now considered unavoidable by the three main parties (Kavanagh and Cowley, 2010: 23). As a result, in the run-up to the 2010 general elections the differences between Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal-Democrats were barely visible. Labour and the Conservatives only disagreed slightly about the speed and depth of the deficit reduction plans. Faced with such a choice, the electorate failed to give a majority to any of the three main parties, though it was clear that Labour lost the 2010 general elections. Labour suffered the worst electoral results since 1983 with 29.7% of the vote (Kavanagh and Cowley, 2010: 350-351). It was also clear that voters blamed Labour for the economic crisis. According to a YouGov poll conducted for the website Left Foot Forward, 48% of those questioned held the view that the recession had destroyed Labour’s reputation as a competent manager of the economy (Quinn, 2011: 408).

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Miliband and the Economy It was against this backdrop that the campaign for the leadership of the Labour Party was fought. From the beginning, Ed Miliband presented himself as an alternative to New Labour and his programme while vague on detail had already neo-Keynesian contours. His starting point was a critique of the excesses of market capitalism, a neo-Keynesian approach to deficit reduction based on a stimulus programme and job creation, and an egalitarian narrative. However, it was not so easy for Ed Miliband to detach himself from New Labour. His political career was deeply embedded in New Labour, first as an adviser to Gordon Brown and later as a New Labour Cabinet minister since 2005. More importantly, his intellectual hinterland was shaped by New Labour. That much was apparent in his acceptance speech where he said that the new generation in the party “understands the fundamental New Labour lesson that we must build prosperity as well as redistributing it” (Miliband, 2010c). Tony Blair would have not put it differently. Nonetheless he went further than his rivals in his critique of New Labour (Jobson and Wickam-Jones, 2010: 526). In contrast with his rivals he was very clear in identifying the limits of New Labour. “We did great things after 1997, but while the New Labour combination of free markets plus redistribution got us a long way, it reached its limits some years ago” (Miliband, 2010f), he said when announcing his bid for the leadership of the party. This message was repeated continuously throughout the leadership election in speeches and in interviews. For instance, in an interview to The Independent, Miliband said that New Labour had been haunted by three “old ghosts”, namely a fear of raising taxation for higher earners, a fear of Old Labour’s anti-Americanism, which resulted in the Iraq war, and an unnecessary desire to protect the public from the views of Labour members, which led to a control freak style of party management (Miliband, 2010e). In the same interview he also said that New Labour “got stuck – defending flexible labour markets and not understanding the limits to markets at a time when the world had moved on” (Miliband, 2010e). The admission of mistakes – in this case New Labour’s naïveté about financial markets – enabled Miliband to set the stage to make an analysis of the causes of the 2008 financial crisis. For him the financial crisis, made possible by the laisser-faire approach of New Labour, was responsible for the deficit crisis and was at the heart of the widening gap between rich and poor. Miliband had made a similar argument in an article he co-signed with Douglas Alexander in February of 2010 (Alexander and Miliband,

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2010). In this article, they argued that the financial crisis was a demonstration of “massive market failure” and proved the relevance of the state. He also advocated a new way of thinking about the market and about the state, because “globalisation is not an untameable force of nature to which we must adapt or die” (Miliband, 2010f). Thus, his leadership bid revolved around three main ideas: 1) a neoKeynesian approach to deficit reduction; 2) a commitment to tackle social inequalities; 3) a defence of a new role for the state namely in regulating market capitalism and in stimulating job creation. The overall wrapping of this approach was Miliband’s critique of the coalition’s programme of deficit reduction which would hurt the most vulnerable in society. In its place he proposed a neo-Keynesian approach to deficit reduction. Instead of harsh spending cuts aimed at halving the public deficit in four years, he proposed a living wage, the creation of a High Pay Commission which would look into the levels of compensation in the financial services industry, a graduate tax to replace the unpopular tuition fees and a progressive approach to taxation (Hasan and Macintyre, 2011: 227). After a close-run leadership battle with his brother David, Ed Miliband won Labour’s leadership election. In his acceptance speech, Miliband revisited the main themes of his leadership bid, in particular his concern with rising social inequalities. He claimed to be committed to change the economy “so that it works better for working people and doesn’t just serve the needs of the top” (Miliband, 2010c; Miliband, 2010b). Reflecting a wider debate about inequality, he also linked the rise of social inequalities to a series of other social and economic ills, and ultimately to economic productivity and growth. He also used his acceptance speech to identify some of the “mistakes” of New Labour, namely being “naïve” about the functioning of markets. However he was under pressure from the Blairite wing of the party to develop a “tough” position on deficit reduction. Thus, he started by admitting that “there will be cuts and there would have been if we had been in government. Some of them will be painful and would have been if we were in government”. But he also said that “economics teaches us that at times of recession governments run up deficits” (Miliband, 2010c). His speech and vision were considered bold by many commentators however Ed Miliband suffered from one major problem. Because he won the leadership contest thanks to the votes of the trade-unions his position within the party was vulnerable. That vulnerability invited criticism and attacks. As a result, Miliband had difficulty in asserting himself as a potential prime-minister. He had problems with his personal image too. Some commentators criticised his mannerisms, his voice and his tendency

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to disappear from public view. Even amongst his supporters there were those who questioned his leadership skills. For instance, the academic and Labour peer, Maurice Glasman wrote that there was “no strategy, no narrative and little energy” in Miliband’s approach (Glasman, 2012). Miliband’s vulnerable position in the party resulted in some ambiguity in his economic narrative. Instead of a clear alternative to the coalition, Labour’s response to the financial crisis and to the deficit crisis lacked definition and direction. Indeed, Labour’s discourse was a combination of a neo-Keynesian critique of austerity and a progressive discourse on social inequalities with the acceptance of the coalition’s public spending cuts to reduce the deficit. It was only in his second year as leader (when the party’s lead in the opinion polls was consolidated, and when the economic facts started to support Miliband’s analysis) that his economic narrative started to take shape. But even then, Miliband seemed to be in two minds: in one hand Miliband promised a radical alternative to the coalition’s economic policy, but in the other, he was under pressure from some members of the shadow cabinet to develop a “tough” approach to deficit reduction and public spending. He was also under pressure to not to scare “Middle England” voters with promises of higher taxes for higher income earners.

Concessions to the Right During the campaign for the leadership of the Labour Party he was criticised and ridiculed by the media, by the Conservatives and by his rivals. He was called a “Bennite”, “Red Ed”, “Forrest Gump” and Gromit from the Aardman cartoon’s Wallace and Gromit (Hasan and Macintyre, 2011: 200). When he became leader, even the Labour-supporting Guardian argued that Miliband “must make clear that he will give no special favours to the unions, must pledge to look again at Labour’s unsatisfactory electoral college system and must refuse to give a general endorsement to industrial disputes fought over public services in response to spending cuts” (The Guardian, 27.09.2010). In his first media interview as Labour leader, to the Andrew Marr’s Show on BBC1, he was forced to respond to these critics by insisting that his leadership was “not about some lurch to the left” (Hasan and Macintyre, 2011: 244). But his assurances fell on deaf ears. Miliband spent the first three months of his leadership fighting the idea that it amounted to a shift to the left. To convince voters, the media and his party that he was no representative of the “Loony Left”, Miliband made a number of concessions.

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The first concession to the right was about his relationship with the trade unions. He made it clear that he would not support “overblown rhetoric about waves of irresponsible strikes” (Miliband, 2010c). This was the kind of rhetoric that the Blairite wing of the party and the conservative media were expecting to hear, but the result was a contortionist style of politics. He also conceded to some of the demands put forward by the Blairite wing of the party. One of these concessions was the appointment of Alan Johnson (instead of Ed Balls) as Shadow Chancellor. Johnson’s appointment meant that the neo-Keynesian approach to deficit reduction had to be diluted. Indeed, Johnson defined himself as an “instinctive cutter” (Hasan and Macintyre, 2011: 266) and defended a more aggressive approach to deficit reduction - one which would have halved the deficit in four years. Moreover, Johnson was not an enthusiast of the top rate of income tax which had been recently introduced. By contrast, Miliband saw the new 50% tax band as a permanent measure (Harris, 2010).

Balls, and the Return of Neo-Keynesianism It was only when Ed Balls was appointed Shadow Chancellor in January of 2011 that the neo-Keynesian agenda resurfaced again. Both Miliband and Balls were able to argue that “the deficit was not caused by reckless or chronic Labour overspending but by a global financial crisis” (Hasan and Macintyre, 2011: 280-281) and that the main role of the state in a time of recession was to focus on job creation. For that purpose, both Miliband and Balls announced that they would put in place a bank bonus tax to fund a new programme for youth employment. The arguments used to justify this policy were interesting because they spelled out an alternative to the austerity measures implemented by the Conservative-led coalition. Indeed, the new programme was justified in the following fashion: “Unemployment is now rising again and the recovery ground to a halt at the end of last year. We need a plan that puts jobs and growth first because getting more people into work and the economy growing strongly again is the best way to get the deficit down” (Balls and Miliband, 2011). This line of argument was deployed several times. For example, in his speech to the IPPR in November of 2011, Miliband challenged the claim that there is no alternative to austerity. Reminding his audience that “it was the depression of the 1930s that broke the idea that government was powerless in the face of hard times”, he argued for a slower programme of deficit reduction and he put the case for a stimulus programme aimed at creating employment which included cutting VAT, levying a bank bonus

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tax to fund a programme to tackle youth unemployment and public investments in infra-structure (Miliband, 2011a). But for Miliband job creation was not enough. He was also concerned with the rising social inequalities that were harming the economy. This concern explains his support for the 50% income tax on high income earners and for the Living Wage campaign. This discourse on equality was heavily influenced by the book The Spirit Level authored by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (2009) and by the ideas on pre-distribution developed by the American academic Jacob Hacker. That influence was evident in the way that Miliband calibrated his narrative on inequality. His focus on social inequalities followed a two-pronged approach. In the one hand his discourse was fairly social-democratic, with a strong emphasis on the words “equality”, “social justice” and “redistribution”. But on the other he calibrated his narrative to the floating voter of Middle England. Thus he started to talk about the “squeezed middle”. His first venture into this new ground was an article he published in the Sunday Telegraph where he declared to be “on the side of the squeezed middle” (Miliband, 2010d). By the “squeezed middle” he meant the people who “played by the rules, but did not feel that society rewarded responsibility”, the people who “found themselves working harder than ever” but who found it more difficult “to get by”. The two strands of this narrative came together in a speech in February 2011 to the Resolution Foundation. In this speech, Miliband addressed the rising social inequalities in the following fashion: “the 21st century inequality, the fairness divide in our economy, threatens to be about a division between the richest at the top who have been doing well, and the majority – lower and middle-income – who have been struggling to keep up: working harder for longer for less” (Miliband, 2011e). The discourse on the “squeezed middle” was also used to attack the austerity measures of the coalition. In a speech to the IPPR in November of 2011 he said that Cameron’s “failed plan” of austerity had made “silent victims” out the squeezed middle (Miliband, 2011a).

Predator Capitalism Vs Responsible Capitalism In parallel with a neo-Keynesian approach to deficit reduction and a concern with rising inequalities, Miliband launched an attack on “predator capitalism”. This new narrative was presented as another “big idea” (Rawnsley, 2011). He first addressed the theme at the 2011 Labour Party annual conference, when he presented the choice between predator capitalism and responsible capitalism: “Let me tell you what the 21st century choice is: Are you on the side of the wealth creators or the asset

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strippers? The producers or the predators? Producers train, invest, invent, sell. (...) Predators are just interested in the fast buck, taking what they can out of the business” (Miliband, 2011d). This speech was interpreted as a major shift in Labour policy by media commentators. For instance, Seumas Milne from The Guardian wrote that it was “the most radical speech by a Labour leader for a generation” as it signalled “an unmistakeable break with the corporate consensus of the past three decades and the model of unfettered market capitalism this has enforced” and it raised “the prospect of a genuine social democratic alternative to the neoliberal order” (Milne, 2011). In a similar vein, the Blairite commentator Martin Kettle interpreted this speech as “indisputably a leftward shift from the New Labour years” and as “an attempt to reclaim social democracy as Labour’s core route-finding principle” (Kettle, 2011). An article published in the New Statesman by Stewart Wood, Miliband’s chief policy adviser, left no doubts about that “leftward shift”. In it Wood wrote that Britain in 2011 was witnessing “the death throes of the neoliberal ideology that had dominated Britain for more than 30 years”, and that Labour was in a position to propose a “better capitalism” which placed the creation of jobs and the tackling of inequality at the centre of its economic strategy (Wood, 2011). This discourse resonated with public opinion. So much so, that the Prime Minister David Cameron felt obliged to talk about “moral capitalism”, to criticise bankers’ bonuses and tax-avoidance schemes, in speeches and articles (Toynbee, 2011). However, the Labour Party was quick to reclaim this territory. Again, Stewart Wood reclaimed the critique of predator capitalism to Labour. In an article published in The Guardian soon after Cameron’s intervention, Wood said that “this agenda is Labour’s” as only the Labour Party has “the values to get it right” (Wood, 2012). He also explained the concept of responsible capitalism at length. Woods argued that this responsible capitalism agenda could become a “platform for social democratic politics after the crisis” where responsibility is rewarded and to ensure that “economic power and rewards are more evenly distributed” (Wood, 2012). This vision was translated in a commitment to implement the reforms proposed in the Vickers report and to reform the bonus system prevalent in the financial services industry (Miliband, 2010a). However, this commitment is, to say the least, ambiguous, in particular with regards to the campaign for the implementation of a tax on financial transactions, to which European social-democrats attach great symbolic importance. As in other areas, Miliband’s position suffered changes. At the 2011 Labour Party Annual Conference, Miliband said he would back the tax, even if it

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only went ahead in Europe. “We are in favour of this. It is a hard thing to do but I think it is necessary, important and the right thing to do. You have got to do it globally though for it to work, or at the very least in Europe”, he said (Miliband, 2011d). However, the most recent position of the party is exactly the same as the Coalition’s. Labour is in principle supportive of the tax, but in practice only when it is adopted universally. For Labour, protecting the City of London is paramount. In an article published in The Evening Standard, Ed Balls claimed that adopting the tax on financial transactions only in Europe risked damaging the City of London, which he claimed to be committed to support as “one of the world’s most successful financial centres” (Balls, 2011). But this stance on the financial transactions tax contradicts the party’s analysis of the financial crisis and its commitment to “responsible capitalism”. After all, the main goal of the Tobin Tax is to reduce risky and irresponsible behaviour on the financial markets.

Panic and Zigzag The narrative of “responsible capitalism” was well received however the leadership of the party had great difficulties in putting forward this message. The Blairite wing of the party was expecting Miliband to develop a “credible” approach to deficit reduction, which involved accepting the public spending cuts and the austerity measures implemented by the coalition government since 2010. In late 2011, a group of authors claiming to represent “Black Labour” wrote a pamphlet, which was duly publicised and commented in the media, where they argued that “Labour must put fiscal sustainability at the absolute core of its policy agenda” (Painter and Sen, 2011). For the proponents of Black Labour gaining economic credibility meant that Ed Miliband had to accept the Blairite orthodoxies about the superiority of markets. Faced at the time with negative polls and widespread criticisms, the leadership of the Labour Party started to panic and gave in to pressure. The neo-Keynesian approach was watered down. Both Miliband and Balls started to emphasise the need to accept the coalition’s public spending cuts in order to reduce the deficit. It is important to recognise that Miliband always accepted the need for public spending cuts, however the focus of his approach has changed. From accepting “some cuts” and defending a slower approach to deficit reduction, Labour moved to a position where it would not reverse the coalition’s public spending cuts. There is telling vignette that helps to understand Labour’s difficulties. In his Bloomberg speech of 2010, Ed Balls admitted the frustration he felt

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when explaining his approach to deficit reduction to the media: “Interviewers look aghast when I tell them that cutting public spending this financial year and pre-announcing a rise in VAT is economically foolish, when growth and consumer confidence is so fragile. ‘But what would you cut instead’ they demand. So strong and broad is this consensus that a special name has been given to those who take a different view – deficit deniers – and some in the Labour Party believe our very credibility as a party depends on hitching ourselves to the consensus view” (Balls, 2010). In early 2012 both Miliband and Balls seemed to have accepted the argument about the “deficit deniers” they had criticised earlier. The acceptance of all spending cuts suggests as Polly Toynbee put it, that Labour lost “the Keynesian argument” as “the paradox of thrift is just too paradoxical for the public” (Toynbee, 2012). This much was clear in an interview Balls gave to The Guardian where he said that “Labour cannot win the argument on jobs and growth unless we win the argument on credibility” (Wintour, 2012). Miliband echoed exactly the same message in a BBC interview. He justified the need to sustain public spending cuts on the grounds of credibility. “We are absolutely determined that Labour shows we would be fiscally credible in government”, he said (Wintour, 2012; Miliband, 2012a).

One Nation Labour In the meantime, economic data went on demonstrating the strength of Labour’s argument on how to reduce the public deficit. Despite the harshness of the austerity measures and of the public spending cuts of the coalition, the public deficit was far from being under control. The National Institute for Economic and Social Research projected an increase in Britain’s debt to GDP ratio of 4.85 per cent by the end of 2013 whilst at the same time the Bank of England had to revise several times its projections from modest economic growth to a contraction of the economy. This macroeconomic context enabled Labour to criticise at every available opportunity the coalition’s economic strategy as “selfdefeating”, “unfair” and that had led to higher borrowing costs and economic stagnation. However, Labour failed to explain which policies it would put in place. That said, both Miliband and Balls hinted in speeches and media comments, that they favoured a stimulus programme which would focus on job creation and on building public infra-structure. The suggestion of an alternative path was clear when Balls contrasted the coalition’s approach with the “more balanced approach” of the Obama

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administration: “By taking a more balanced approach over the last couple of years, with a jobs plan to support the recovery, President Obama has delivered a growing economy in America. But David Cameron and George Osborne’s self-defeating austerity policies have plunged Britain back into recession” (Balls, 2012b). By October of 2012, those hints and suggestions became part of a bigger and clearer political narrative. The outlet for this vision was Miliband’s “One Nation” speech at the 2012 Labour Party Annual Conference. In this speech, Miliband openly borrowed Disraeli’s “One Nation” speech to put forward an egalitarian message. In it he said: “I didn’t become leader of the Labour Party to reinvent the world of Disraeli or Attlee. But I do believe in that spirit. That spirit of One Nation. One Nation: a country where everyone has a stake. One Nation: a country where prosperity is fairly shared. One Nation: where we have a shared destiny, a sense of shared endeavour and a common life that we lead together. That is my vision of One Nation. That is my vision of Britain. That is the Britain we must become.” (Miliband, 2012c). The One Nation focus put Miliband in the political centre-ground however it also enabled him to depart once again from New Labour and to move into a more radical direction. Thus, Miliband said that New Labour “was too silent about the responsibilities of those at the top, and too timid about the accountability of those with power”. He also linked the themes of poor economic performance with rising social inequalities. Against this backdrop, Miliband said that One Nation Labour would tackle the widening gap between rich and poor, and it would attack the banks and corporate cartels, defend public services as well as take what he called the “difficult decisions” about public spending and public sector reform. The One Nation ideas were further developed in a speech in early 2013 devoted to Labour’s approach to the economy. In his “One Nation Economy” speech Miliband added some more substance to the party’s economic narrative. In a direct “ideas transfer” from President Obama’s “middle out economics” the Labour leader said that Britain’s “economic recovery will be made by the many, not just by a few at the top” (Miliband, 2013) and announced a list of policies that would make that vision a reality. The policies that caught the headlines were the proposal to reinstate the 10p tax band and the implementation of a mansion tax for properties worth over two million pounds, but there were other, arguably more modest initiatives, such as new regional growth investment fund, a commitment to reform vocational training and “to encourage” the adoption of a living wage as well as unspecified measures aimed at breaking the cartel of the energy companies, railway operators and banks. The overall

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direction of Labour’s approach was neo-Keynesian, but the references to the “difficult decisions” on public spending added ambiguity to the overall approach. Miliband’s speech on One Nation economy was perceived by many commentators as a clever political speech that added more definition to Labour’s economic narrative, however, the absence of a comprehensive package of policies left too many questions unanswered. Even the Financial Times wrote that Miliband’s speech revealed a “regrettable lack of ambition for building a vision of substance” and that it failed to make “substantive challenges to conventional thinking” (Financial Times, 17.02.2013).

Conclusion So where does this leave Labour? Thus far, the stances of the Labour frontbench seem to suggest that Miliband is attempting to create a socialdemocratic alternative to New Labour. Miliband’s economic approach is underpinned by a critique of the excesses of market capitalism, by a concern with rising inequalities and by a defence of an active role for the state. We can also discern Keynesian aspects in his response to the debt crisis. Indeed, his approach seems to be faithful to Keynesian orthodoxies – in particular to Keynes’s “paradox of thrift” idea – by advocating a focus on employment creation and economic growth to reduce the deficit, and also by the acceptance of the idea that at the time of economic recession countries run deficits. Moreover, his commitment to redistribution of wealth via the tax system as well as his support for a living wage is in line with the party’s traditional approach to equality. But if it is true that this discourse is different from the Third Way platitudes, in the post-2008 world where the Financial Times writes regularly about the moral crisis of capitalism and expects Labour to challenge conventional thinking on economics, this discourse is hardly radical. In addition, Labour’s social-democratic approach has been compromised by the party’s concessions on a number of areas from financial regulation to public spending cuts. The most obvious of these concessions is Labour’s conversion to austerity policies to cure the deficit however there are other issues that compromise its social-democratic approach. Miliband’s contortions about the tax on financial transactions, the acceptance of spending cuts to welfare claimants, even the light commitment to the Living Wage campaign seem to suggest that Labour under Miliband is still trapped in the triangulating strategies of New Labour.

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To conclude I would argue that the Labour Party under Ed Miliband has moved leftwards from New Labour, however the strength of the Blairite wing within the party as well as the media’s hostility to a different discourse on deficit reduction blurred Miliband’s economic narrative. As a result, it is still too early to say whether this leftwards shift amounts to a fully-fledged embrace of social democratic ends and means.

References Alexander, Douglas and Miliband, Ed (2010), “We Will Defend the State”, The Guardian, 05.02.2010. Balls, Ed (2012b), “By Taking a More Balanced Approach, President Obama Has Delivered a Growing Economy in America”, 27.04.2012, in http://www.labour.org.uk/obama-has-delivered-growing-economyin-america, (retrieved on 23.05.2012). Balls, Ed (2012a), “Letter to George Osborne”, 19.01.2012, in http://www.labour.org.uk/ed-balls-writes-to-osborned-on-deliveringfairness-on-pay (retrieved on 01.02.2012). —. (2011), “Don’t Cripple the City”, Evening Standard, 31.10.2011, in http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/dont-cripple-the-city--london-canlead-the-recovery-6363131.html. —. (2010), “Now Let’s offer a Real Choice – And Nail the Tory Lie on Cuts”, The Guardian, 26.09.2010, www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/sep/26/offer-choice-nailtory-cuts-lie (retrieved on 10/01/2012). Balls, Ed and Miliband, Ed (2011), “Ed Miliband and Ed Balls Press Conference”, 14.03.2011, in http://www.labour.org.uk/ed-milibandand-ed-balls-press-conference (retrieved 20.01.2012). Balls, Ed (2010), “The Case Against the ‘Growth Deniers’”, Bloomberg Speech, 27.10.2010. Beech, Matt (2009), “No New Vision: The Gradual Death of British Social Democracy?”, The Political Quarterly, Vol. 80, No. 4, OctoberDecember. Brown, Gordon (2007), “The Mansion House Speech”, 20.06.2007, in http://ukingermany.fco.gov.uk/en/news/?view=Speech$id=4616377) (retrieved on 10.10.2012). Casey, Terence (2010), “The End of the Affair? Free Market Capitalism in the US and UK After the Financial Crisis”, paper presented at the Conference The UK and US in 2010: Transition and Transformation, George Washington University, 01.09.2010.

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Crouch, Colin (2011), The Strange Non-Death of Neo-Liberalism, Cambridge: Polity Press. Freeden, Michael (1998), Ideologies and Political Theory: A Conceptual Approach, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Gamble, Andrew (2009), “British Politics and the Financial Crisis”, in British Politics, Vol. 4, 4, 450-462. Glasman, Maurice (2012), “Ed Miliband Must Trust His Instincts And Stand Up For Real Change”, New Statesman, 05.01.2012. Goes, Eunice (2003), A Era Blair em Exame, Lisbon: Quimera. —. (2002), New Labour and the Idea of Work: A Public Political Discourse Analysis of the Labour Party 1994 – 2011, Doctoral Thesis, LSE. Hasan, Mehdi and Macintyre, James (2011), Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader, London: Biteback. Heffernan, Richard (2011), “Labour’s New Labour Legacy: Politics After Blair and Brown”, Political Studies Review, Vol. 9, 163-177 Jobson, Richard and Wickam-Jones, Mark (2010), “Gripped By the Past: Nostalgia and the 2010 Party Leadership Contest”, British Politics, Vol. 5, 4, 525-548. Kavanagh, Dennis and Cowley, Philip (2010), The British General Election of 2010, Houndmills: Palgrave MacMillan. Kettle, Martin (2011), “Ed Miliband Has Offered An alternative – But Will Anyone Vote For It?”, The Guardian, 29.09.2011. Miliband, Ed (2010a), “Speech To The CBI”, 25.10.2010, in http://www.labour.org.uk/leader-of-the-labour-party-ed-milibandsspeech-to-the-cbi (retrieved 10.01.2012). —. (2010b), “David Cameron Wants A Return To The Days of Tory Arrogance”, The Observer, 24.10.2010. —. (2010c), “The New Generation Speech”, 28.09.2010, in www.labour.org.uk/ed-miliband---a-new-generation (retrieved on 10.01.2012). —. (2010d), “My Vision to Rebuild Trust”, in The Sunday Telegraph, 25.09.2010. —. (2010e), “Interview with Ed Miliband: ‘We Need to Tax the BetterOff’”, The Independent, 30.08.2010. —. (2010f), “Why I want to Lead the Labour Party”, The Guardian, 15.05.2010. —. (2011a), “Speech to the IPPR”, 24.11.2011, in http://www.totalpolitics.com/speeches/labour/labour-politicsgeneral/277197/ed-miliband-speech-to-the-ippr.thtml (retrieved, 15.03.2012).

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—. (2011b), “Speech to the Social Market Foundation – Irresponsible Capitalism”, 17.11.2011, in http://www.politics.co.uk/commentanalysis/2011/11/17/ed-miliband-irresponsible-capitalism-speech-infull (retrieved the 10.01.2012). —. (2011c), “Business, Finance and Politics Are Out of Touch With People”, The Observer, 06.11.2011. —. (2011d) “Speech to the 2011 Labour Party Conference”, 2011-09-27, in http://www.labour.org.uk/ed-milibands-speech-to-labour-partyconference. —. (2011e), “Speech to the Resolution Foundation”, 28.02.2011, in http://www.labour.org.uk/the-cost-of-living-crisis-facing-britain---edmiliband. —. (2012a), “We Can Deliver Fairness”, 17.01.2012, in http://www.labour.org.uk/changing/the-labour-party-so-we-candeliver-fairness. —. (2012b) “Speech to London Citizens” 10.01.2012, in http://www.labour.org.uk/labour-will-deliver-fairness (retrieved on 10.01.2012). —. (2012c), “One Nation – Speech to the Labour Party Annual Conference 2012”, 03.01.2012, in http://www.labour.org.uk/edmiliband-speech-conf-2012 (retrieved on 04.10.2012). —. (2013), “Rebuilding Britain With a One Nation Economy”, 14.02.2013, in http://www.labour.org.uk/rebuilding-britain-with-a-onenation-economy-ed-miliband (retrieved on the 15.02.2013). Milne, Seamus (2011), “Now Ed Miliband’s Challenge is to Put His Stamp on the Labour Party”, The Guardian, 28.11.2011. Painter, Anthony and Sen, Hopi (2011), “Labour must make fiscal honesty the key to responsible capitalism”, The Guardian, 01.12.2011. Quinn, Thomas (2011), “From New Labour to New Politics: The British General Election of 2010”, West European Politics, Vol. 34, No. 2, 403-411. Sassoon, Donald (1997), One Hundred Years of Socialism: The West European Left in the Twentieth Century, London: I.B. Tauris. Wood, Stewart (2012), “Responsible Capitalism Is Labour’s Agenda”, The Guardian, 09.01.2012. —. (2011), “The God That Failed”, The New Statesman, 29.09.2011. Toynbee, Polly (2010), “Labour’s Vain, Venal Has-Beens Should Bow Out and Shut Up”, The Guardian, 30.10.2010. —. (2012), “On Morality Ed Miliband is Way Ahead of Cameron. Now For the Economy”, The Guardian, 19.01.2012.

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“Editorial: “Labour’s New Leader: Ed Miliband’s Moment”, The Guardian 27.09.2010. “Tories Forge Five-Point Poll Lead Over Labour”, The Guardian, 23.01.2012. “Editorial: Labour Yet to Earn Trust on Economy”, Financial Times, 12.02.2013.

THE INFLUENCE OF THE TEA PARTY ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND U.S. POLITICS* DONALD L. DAVISON1

Introduction Early characterizations of the Tea Party in the United States portray it as a grass roots mobilization of conservative activists. The movement is a decentralized phenomenon attracting a diverse group of supporters. Like many social movements, it has evolved since its emergence. The Great Recession of 2008-2009 is offered as its primary catalyst, but the base previously existed. Nevertheless, there are common elements which unite supporters and separate its followers from other conservatives. Initial accounts of the Tea Party describe it as a secular movement motivated by their aversion to expansive government, excessive taxation, wasteful spending, and outrage over government bailouts (Zernike, 2010). Sympathizers’ complaints reflect historic concerns about the role and size of government and its intrusion into individuals’ liberties. These are important themes consistent with conservatism throughout American history. Thus, the Tea Party influences American politics broadly and particularly the Republican Party. The Tea Party though is not simply a secular group of angry voters aroused by bailouts and recession. Since 2011 there is significant overlap between Tea Party supporters and Christian conservatives; in some ways, it is a continuation of the culture wars of the last 30 years. Further, some

 *

Empirical results in this paper use the Evaluations of Government Survey from the American National Election Studies at the Center for Political Studies, University of Michigan. The Evaluations of Government Surveys is a series of four cross-sectional surveys conducted beginning in the summer of 2011 through 2012. The EGSS measures respondents’ opinions regarding their relationship to government and elected officials. 1 Professor of Political Science at Rollins College.

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supporters of the Tea Party reflect the racialized politics of the Republican Party dating back to the Goldwater era of the 1960s. These elements predispose followers of the Tea Party to hold extreme – sometimes inconsistent – positions. They pull the Republican Party to the far right thereby foiling much of President Obama’s progressive policy agenda. More importantly, the extreme conservatism of the Tea Party and its current dominance of the Republican Party have altered the political party system in the United States contributing to a fragmented and growing group of voters who claim no partisan attachment. Fully understanding the influence of the Tea Party requires examining its relation to the rest of the ideological continuum in the United States, and to the polarization of the parties in the United States underway for the last 30 years. The Tea Party exacerbates that polarization. There is a growing percentage of the American electorate who identify with neither political party (Dalton, 2013). The impact of the Tea Party should be understood in relation to an increasingly fragmented party center and a dominated Republican Party. The Tea Party produces a paradox for its followers. Supporters are understandably angered by the unresponsiveness of politicians, governmentfunded bailouts, and declining opportunity – all populist causes. Yet their strong Republican Party loyalty likely means those concentrated interests responsible for many Tea Partiers’ grievances will continue to be favored. Tea Party devotees seem unaware of the tension between their populism and the strength of their Republican partisanship. As a result the Republican Party is pulled further to the extreme right, thereby exacerbating the governing paralysis backers loathe.

A Portrait of the Tea Party Since its emergence in 2008, the Tea Party achieved an influential position in American politics. Local groups influenced the outcome of elections and significantly impacted the 2010 Congressional elections. Yet, it is a curious phenomenon. The Tea Party is not a formal party organization similar to the Democrat or Republican political parties. It lacks a national bureaucratic structure with party officials or central office, allocates no delegates to presidential primaries in states (although it can influence which delegates are selected by the Republican Party), and does not have a unified policy platform other than to oppose most forms of governmental intervention. Still, the Tea Party recruits candidates for elections, is adept at mobilizing its fanatical base of supporters, has moved the Republican Party to the far right, and frustrated much of the Obama policy agenda. The Tea Party resembles a right-wing populist movement.

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It has moved the ideological center – at least temporarily – of the political parties in the United States. Most sketches of Tea Party supporters find a diverse mixture of followers (Zernike, 2010; New York Times/CBS News Poll, 2010). Journalistic accounts describe the typical member as middle-age, white, male, with slightly above average educational and income levels (see Table 1). Economically they appear to be relatively comfortable – most report they do not have difficulty paying their bills in a timely fashion. Tea Party supporters are typically described as angry, display more than a hint of racism and intolerance of immigration, and are strongly stirred by their dislike of President Obama. Importantly, early descriptions characterize members as secular, anti-government activists rallied by long-simmering discontent and the Great Recession. They see the United States in decline and the nation’s core values disappearing (Zernike, 2010; Williamson et. al., 2011). The results from the Evaluations of Government Survey 2011 are consistent with many but not all of these journalistic depictions. Supporters of the Tea Party are more likely to be older compared to nonsupporters: 34% of Tea Party supporters are under the age of 45 whereas 65% are older than 45. There is a noticeable gender imbalance among “partiers”. Nearly two-thirds of Tea Party supporters (62%) are male compared to 44% of non-supporters. Finally, Tea Party sympathizers are overwhelmingly white, more likely to be married, and many are retired. Tea Party supporters also occupy the solid center of the socioeconomic scale. They have average education and enjoy a slight upperincome bias. About 53% of supporters report annual household income at or above $50,000 – the median in the United States for a family of four – compared to only 42% of non-partiers. The slight upward socio-economic skew among Tea Partiers is predictable given their age and male bias. Backers are no more likely to be unemployed compared to the rest of the population. Followers are overwhelmingly Republican and self-identify as very conservative. Supporters of the Tea Party are not severely disadvantaged nor suffered more than anyone else from the Great Recession.

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Table 1: Demographic Profile of Tea Party Supporters (Percent)

Income Less than $20,000 $20,000 - $35,000 $35,000 - $60,000 $60,000 - $100,000 More than $100,000 Age 18 – 29 30 – 44 45 – 59 60 older Education Less than high school High school Some college College degree or more White Black Male Married Currently employed Retired Partisanship Republican Democrat Ideology Extremely conservative Moderate Extremely liberal

Tea Party Supporter

General Population

15% 18% 29% 26% 12%

20% 24% 28% 20% 7%

12% 23% 32% 33%

24% 25% 26% 24%

9% 31% 30% 31%

14% 29% 25% 32%

82% 2% 62% 65% 53% 25%

70% 14% 44% 52% 55% 17%

87% 13%

32% 65%

62% 11% 0

37% 89% 3%

Source: Evaluations of Government Survey 2011 There are several important differences between recent analyses of the Tea Party and my findings. Early investigations assert the Tea Party is a new phenomenon in American politics with little or no relationship to the religious cleavages characterizing politics since 1980. In fact, some

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accounts emphasize the secular character of the movement. By 2011, however, overlap emerges between Tea Party supporters and religious traditionalists and evangelicals, thus reflecting a new incarnation of a fundamental division in American politics. Moreover, religious traditionalists dominate the Republican Party. Twice as many Tea Party supporters describe themselves as having either a born-again experience or being an evangelical Christian (47%) compared to 24% of non-supporters. Further, 79% of Republicans who support the Tea Party consider themselves to be evangelical compared to only 35% of non-sympathizer Republicans who identify as evangelicals. Frequency of church attendance also is closely related to Tea party support. The likelihood of being a Tea Party supporter increases with frequent church attendance, and again the characteristic is distinctive from other Republicans. 89% of Republicans who support the Tea Party attend church at least once a week compared to 37% of non-Tea Party Republicans. Thus, the Tea Party following appears significantly less secular and more religious than the Republican Party as a whole. Indicators of racial prejudice also exist among supporters of the Tea Party. When asked how much racial discrimination exists in the United States, only 13% of supporters believe a “great deal still exists” compared to 86% of non-supporters. Further, only 8% of Tea Party supporters strongly agree “slavery and discrimination made it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class” compared to 92% of the rest of the population. Unsurprisingly, an overwhelming percentage of Tea Party supporters dislike President Obama – two-thirds (68%) of supporters either dislike or dislike a great deal President Obama compared to only 19% of the rest of the population. Moreover, their antipathy for President Obama is not simply a function of his policy positions. Among Tea Party supporters, 72% of those who believe there is no racial discrimination in the United States also dislike Barak Obama a great deal. Among non-Tea Party members, however, only 12% who believe racial discrimination does not exist also dislike President Obama a great deal. Thus, identification with the Tea Party movement illustrates two important differences from early descriptions: many Tea Party sympathizers look very similar to religious conservatives, and they display noticeable racial sensitivity compared to the rest of the population. Religious conservatives have dominated the Republican Party for the last 30 years creating a “God gap” between the two parties. Second, racialized politics has been an element of the Republican coalition since the 1960 civil rights movement. What now appears different is both the intensity and domination

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of these groups inside the Republican Party. Tea Party supporters represent half of Republican Party voters in the 2010 primary and general elections. Their apparent domination of the Republican Party pushes its ideology to the far right, and perhaps encourages more moderate partisans to consider themselves either independents or withdraw from political participation.

What do Tea Party Supporters Believe? The Evaluations of Government Survey asked respondents to complete open-ended questions explaining what they believe the Tea Party represents. Content analysis summarizes their remarks within several conceptual clusters of conservative ideas. Many comments illustrate longstanding strands of American political conservatism since the end of World War II. At the same time, supporters’ comments exhibit a reductionism of conservative ideas which are neither nuanced by contemporary issues nor reflect an understanding of the tradeoffs required by policy problems. Nearly all Tea Party supporters identify taxes as the primary culprit plaguing American government and society. Virtually every partier declared “less taxes” as their rallying cry. Many recite the acronym “TEA” Party meaning people are “Taxed Enough Already.” Opposition to taxes also often symbolizes their call for smaller government. This cluster of comments reflects frustration with “wasteful” government spending and the lack of “fiscal responsibility” by politicians. Hence, Tea Party supporters want “less spending” and improved fiscal restraint by the national government. Reducing taxes achieves “less government” because it requires “cutting government programs”. Tea party supporters desire smaller government and less government “intrusion” into the economic and social lives of Americans. The overwhelming majority of Tea Party supporters favor lower taxes and smaller government believing this will maximize individual liberty. Tea Party supporters often invoke patriotic imagery when describing their endeavor. Members frequently reference the “Constitution” – especially with the claim the national government has moved beyond the original intent adopted by the “founding fathers.” The “Tea Party is a conservative group of people trying to get our country back on track” reflects the appeal to history and the righteousness of their cause. We have lost our “freedom” due to government regulation, and apparently a better life will follow by returning to the “values that made America great” such as “helping people”. America is moving toward “socialism”, especially

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under President Obama. Several partiers aptly summarize the movement as inherently “conservative” in its need to “prevent change” and move “back to basics”. Consistent with many of the conservative, patriotic appeals of Tea Party supporters are statements exhibiting their embrace of American exceptionalism. The Tea Party hopes to restore America to the “ideals” envisioned by the Founding Fathers. Returning to those ideals which nurtured American greatness also requires acknowledging “God is the center of our lives”. Individuals should take care of themselves; we must end the “welfare” state before it further erodes democracy and creates dependency which jeopardizes individual freedom. Race and immigration are salient issues creating a politics of the undeserving motif among followers. Many supporters make reference to the need for government to “enforce border laws” as well as the need for everyone to speak English. Frequent references to “border security”, English language provisions, and references to welfare abuse typically are connected with racial stereotypes. Many Tea Party backers state their exasperation with government and politicians. They clearly are frustrated that government does not “listen to the people”, and they contend the only way to improve responsiveness is to dramatically reform both political parties. Indeed, a few comments refer to the Tea Party movement as calling for “radical” or “revolutionary” change to return the country to its original “values”. Finally, Tea Party supporters often highlight conservatives’ cynicism of public power and politicians. They strongly distrust politicians, perceiving them as responsible for inefficient, wasteful government policies. They want government to be more responsive to the public’s desires; elected officials need to “listen to the people”. The Tea Party movement exhibits a strong grass roots or populist character, incorporating long-standing suspicion of governmental power.

The Tea Party and Right-Wing Conservatism Since the end of World War II American conservatism has incorporated many different themes and ideas. Its evolution during the past 60 years reflects the combination of assorted strands of conservative thinking. The Republican Party adopted many of these diverse – sometimes conflicting – elements of the conservative movement. The Tea Party mimics many of these historical ideas included in conservatism albeit in an unrefined or innocent form. The membership of the Tea Party is a collection of citizens united by their anger at government, intense dislike of President Obama,

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religious conservatism, desire to make government more moral, and opposition to taxes. In these respects, the Tea Party seems more akin to a right-wing protest movement. Nevertheless, Tea Party supporters exhibit nascent ideas which are continuing themes in the American conservative movement. More importantly, as a movement it exerts disproportionate influence on the Republican Party. A clear concern among Tea Party supporters is their perception of relentless government expansion and intervention. Partiers are alarmed at government regulation of the economy and intervention into social life. Supporters are distressed by the growth of public (i.e., governmental) power and less concerned by the excesses of private power. Partiers’ resistance to government is reflected through their opposition to universal health care, environmental regulation, and the economic stimulus. In this way Tea Party supporters share some ideas held by libertarians after World War II (Allitt, 2009). Post-war libertarians tended to be singleminded, free-market enthusiasts attracted to the writings of Hayek and von Mises. Later, University of Chicago economists Milton Friedman and George Stigler identify a role for government, though still limited in purpose and scope. Friedman and Stigler, concerned with empirically validating conservative economic ideas, view government as an enforcer of formal rules and an umpire in the marketplace. Further, they recognize certain areas of the economy require government intervention, such as the regulation of public goods or limiting the impact of negative externalities produced by pollution (Friedman, 1962). Yet supporters of the Tea Party adamantly oppose environmental regulation as well as increased supervision of the financial sector – despite their excesses. Concomitant with partiers’ opposition to governmental intervention is a deep cynicism of politicians and power. Suspicion of human nature and individuals’ propensity to abuse power is as old as the founding of the American republic. The logic of the separation of powers as explained in Federalist 51 is to “pit ambition against ambition”. James Madison well understood that if “men were angels” then there would be little need for government. At the same time, Madison and Hamilton understood the need for government to function. Supporters’ deep suspicion of public power undermines an appreciation of when government is necessary in modern society. Racial politics – a strong current among Tea Partiers – is a prominent theme in post-1960s conservatism. Barry Goldwater consciously appealed to race-sensitive white voters over civil rights in an attempt to build a new Republican majority in the South. Richard Nixon’s “southern strategy” in 1968 and 1972 was designed to attract formerly white-supremacist

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Democrats to the Republican Party as newly enfranchised blacks supported the Democratic Party (Allitt, 2009). Tea Party supporters’ intense and overwhelming dislike of President Obama is disproportionate to those attitudes held by the rest of the population. Similarly, partiers’ conclusion that discrimination no longer exists in the United States compared to the majority view suggests a racial component in the Tea Party belief system. The Tea Party also parallels several movements within post-war conservatism regarding foreign policy. A strong anti-communist position characterized conservatives until 1989. Even Nixon and Kissinger’s realpolitik allow for a strong national defense and constant pressure on the Soviet Union. More recent neo-conservative advocacy for the use of American power to shape a world consistent with American interests and values can be interpreted as the next logical step for U.S. foreign policy following the fall of communism (Allitt, 2009). Tea Partiers are fiercely patriotic and supportive of a strong national defense. Indeed, exercising American military might seems to be one of the few acceptable arenas for government to exercise its power according to Tea Party supporters. Neoconservatives also add a domestic policy influence reflected in Tea Party positions. During the 1960s and 1970s a small group of academic social scientists challenged the success of liberal social welfare policies such as Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). Acknowledging these policies were well-intended, neo-conservatives argued many Great Society programs produced unanticipated negative consequences such as dependency and the deterioration of the family structure. Armed with empirical analyses these conservative intellectuals began criticizing welfare programs (Allitt, 2009). Politically, the “unanticipated consequences” perspective depersonalized a sustained critique of the social welfare state and its abuse by minorities, i.e., undeserving African American and immigrant recipients who are taking advantage of welfare programs paid for by hard-working citizens. Hence, neo-conservatism provided an opportunity to criticize an interventionist government as over-reaching and detrimental to the social fabric. The conservative attack on the social welfare state establishes a bridge to two additional currents of post-1970 American conservatism: racial politics and Christian conservatives. Social welfare policies such as AFDC are connected to minorities, particularly African-Americans. Research conducted by social scientists such as Patrick Moynihan brought attention to the breakup of the black family. Crime and welfare abuse are connected to the black population. This narrative allows for the racialization of American welfare programs and contributes to partiers’ resentment because

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benefits are distributed to ‘undeserving’ black and immigrant recipients (Williamson et. al., 2011). Hence, partiers are able to claim their entitlement to social security and Medicare, but simultaneously deny spending for the undeserving. Second, the neoconservative critique of welfare includes a call for a greater role by mediating institutions (Allitt, 2009). Family and churches are considered more effective mechanisms compared to public institutions, and accordingly should be preferred over government intrusion. Hence, it is possible for some Tea Party backers to find common cause with Christian conservatives and evangelicals. Supporters of the Tea Party are a collection of voters who manifest strands of post-War conservatism in the United States. However, the Tea Party does not elucidate a coherent conservative ideology or nuance their conservative positions with contemporary circumstances. Inconsistencies and extremism characterize the movement.

Tea Party Extremism While the Tea Party exhibits several themes of post-World War II conservatism, the attitudes of Tea Party supporters set them apart from other conservatives and the rest of the population. Their extremism and high mobilization produce disproportionate influence on the Republican Party. Tea Party sympathizers hold conservative ideas and overwhelmingly oppose President Obama’s legislative agenda with greater intensity, even relative to other conservatives. This places them at significant ideological distance from moderates. The results from Table 2 reveal supporters’ rejection of enlarged government intervention into economic and social life. They oppose health care expansion – even health insurance for children. In addition, increased financial regulation and governmental protection of the environment are taboo. Second, their opposition to every major policy initiative of the Obama administration is disproportionate to the rest of the American population. Identification with the Tea Party seems to elicit intense conservative views placing them at the far right end of the ideological spectrum. Also they exhibit an overlap with religious and cultural conservatives through their lop-sided opposition to funding for stem cell research and ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. The distinctive composition of Tea Party supporters also is reflected in how they view themselves inside the Republican Party. Tea Party sympathizers are firmly inside the Republican Party. At the end of 2011, nearly half (47%) of Republicans sympathized with the Tea Party

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movement, compared to only 25% of Independents. However, 61% of strong Republicans support the Tea Party compared to only 31% of weak Republicans thereby elevating their influence in the Republican Party. Finally, there is a significant ideological divide between Tea Partiers and the rest of the electorate. Extreme conservatives support the Tea Party, whereas moderates and liberals oppose the movement. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents who consider themselves “extremely conservative” support the Tea Party compared to 34% of moderates. Liberals have nearuniversal opposition to the movement. Table 2: Major Policy Issues of the Obama Administration Respondents Who Consider Themselves “Very Conservative” (Percent Oppose) Tea Party Supporter 95% 58% 86%

Other Conservatives 62% 30% 37%

Economic Stimulus Children’s Health Insurance Clean Energy and Environment Affordable Health Care Act 91% 60% Financial Regulation 56% 26% End Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell 79% 61% Stem Cell Research Funding 79% 52% Raise Federal Income Taxes 69% 20% Source: Evaluations of Government Survey 2011

General Population 39% 14% 19% 31% 14% 30% 28% 12%

Membership in the Tea Party movement also shapes the view of who is responsible for the Great Recession of 2008-2009, independent of ideology. It is interesting to highlight their preference for government to refrain from financial regulation, even though they believe the economy is the most important national problem. Tea Partiers strongly oppose the economic stimulus and financial regulation, while believing Wall Street is culpable for the Great Recession (see Table 3). Interestingly, the financial crisis begins in 2008 – at the end of the Bush administration – yet Tea Party supporters dismiss his responsibility and instead blame President Obama, Congress, and to a lesser degree, Wall Street for the economic turmoil. Tea Party supporters’ strong Republican bias likely contributes to their forgiving view of President Bush and their harsh evaluation of President Obama and Congress. However, their conservative-populist character seems inconsistent with their reluctance to regulate the financial

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industry despite their scorn for Wall Street. Further, Tea Party sympathizers oppose raising federal income taxes on the wealthy despite believing government is unresponsive to ordinary citizens. Sympathy for the Tea Party, regardless of ideology, increases blame on President Obama and Congress for the recession and decreases accountability for former President Bush and Wall Street. Even among conservatives, backing for the Tea Party moves them to blame President Obama and Congress. This large magnitude of difference between Partiers and other strong conservatives consequently pulls the Republican Party to the extreme right, contributing to the partisan conflict of the last three years. Table 3: Who is Responsible for the Current Economic Problems (Very Conservative versus Moderate Respondents) Very Conservative Tea Others Party President Obama 76% 43% President Bush 16% 30% Congress 89% 61% Wall Street 60% 55% Source: Evaluations of Government Survey 2011

Moderates Tea Party

Others

44% 45% 69% 71%

24% 63% 63% 75%

A Captured Republican Party? The Tea Party has transformed the Republican Party – at least in the short run. Supporters of the Tea Party are more politically active compared to the rest of the electorate, are more likely to vote, and identify as Republicans. Partier strength and position reduce the ability of the Republican Party to pursue compromise with President Obama and the Democratic Party on controversial issues. Tea Party sympathizers are three-times more likely to participate in politics compared to the rest of the population. Sympathizers are mobilized to pressure the Republican Party regarding their grievances about American politics. The Tea Party movement exerted significant influence in the 2010 elections. In addition to being more politically engaged, supporters are attentive to the activities of government and more likely to participate in campaign activities. Sympathizers of the Tea Party also are more likely to vote in the 2010 elections for Republican candidates. In fact, support for the Tea Party is the most important factor explaining whether someone

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planned to vote (see Table 4). Supporters of the Tea Party were nearly 18% more likely to vote than non-supporters, after accounting for important indicators of turnout such as education, income, and age. Average turnout in the 2010 Congressional elections was 27% controlling for typical predictors of participation, but support for the Tea Party increases turnout to 44% (see Appendix). Furthermore, Tea Party sympathizers were much more likely to vote for Republican Party candidates. Thus, backers are more likely to vote in the 2010 elections compared to the normal voter and their support was directed towards Republican candidates. Table 4: Indicators of Political Engagement, 2010-2011 Tea Party Attend a political rally or protest 25% Contacted government official 43% Given money to a candidate 21% Extremely interested in information about what the 34% government is doing Believe they can affect a great deal what government does 20% Source: Evaluations of Government Survey 2011

Others 7% 19% 9% 9% 4%

Finally, what explains a respondent’s identification with the Tea Party? The results indicate they are hostile to expanded government, increased taxes, and economic regulation. There is significant overlap between Christian conservatives and the Tea Party movement. Yet these factors can characterize many Americans who do not identify with the Tea Party. Table 5 reports the results from multivariate logistic analysis used to determine the likelihood someone supports the Tea Party. The results suggest a visceral component to membership. Traditional demographic factors used to indicate ideological predisposition are statistically insignificant. Instead, sympathy for the Tea Party seems to reflect an emotional reaction combined with a belief that the core values of America are vanishing. The single most powerful predictor of support for the Tea Party is anger with contemporary politics. Recall they believe America is headed in the “wrong” direction and they are trying to right its course by returning the country to its original values. Their anger and hostility are exaggerated in comparison to other conservatives yet their cause is virtuous.

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Table 5: Likelihood of Identification with the Tea Party, 2011 (Logistic Regression Estimates) Variable Coefficient Age -.0092 Education .0429 Income .0192 Partisan Identification -.1341* Like Obama .2321** Like Palin -.4166** Angry -.5076** Own a gun .1982 Obama not a citizen -.1171 Born again experience -.2252 Lost freedom .1632* Oppose tax increase .2027** Constant -.4246 Pseudo R-Square = 0.405 N = 882 *p < .05, **p < .000 Source: Evaluations of Government Survey, 2011 The results also suggest a transformation is underway in the Republican Party since the 2008 presidential election. Dislike of President Obama and fondness for Sarah Palin are mirror images of each other, and strongly predict whether respondents support the Tea Party. John McCain and Sarah Palin represent changing generations of leadership in the Republican Party. Palin seems to resonate with a fanatical base of the Republican Party. She has captured a loyal foundation of supporters who represent about 12 % of Republican Party identifiers but nearly 50% of those who voted in 2010. Finally, respondents who oppose raising taxes unsurprisingly are likely to identify with the Tea Party. Interesting is the power of the belief they have lost freedom compared to 2008. Relentless government growth seems to be equated with declining individual liberty – even if restricting government is contrary to their economic self-interest. The results suggest the Tea Party has mobilized a highly loyal force in American politics because it echoes fundamental values and national ideals.

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Consequences of the Tea Party for American Politics In many ways, the Tea Party reflects conservatives’ concerns about issues as old as the United States. These include the size of government, the proper relationship between public power and individual liberties, and a strong national security state. Many of the other issues that mobilize Tea Partiers are themes of post-World War II conservatism. Thus, one could conclude the Tea Party represents just ‘more of the same’ for American conservatism and the Republican Party. Indeed, one could argue the Tea Party continues the increasing polarization of the political parties underway in the United States for the past 30 years. In some policy areas, the Tea Party does seem to reflect cleavages that have defined American politics since the 1980s. Yet, the Tea Party illustrates change in several substantive dimensions with consequences for politics and the party system along a left-right continuum. The Tea Party pushed the Republican Party further to the right. Supporters of the Tea Party are powerful because of their cohesion and high turnout levels. They advocate issue positions more adamantly compared to other conservatives. Their activism led to the election of a large number of first-term legislators who owe their victories to Tea Party supporters. Such factors reduced the ability of Republican Party leaders to negotiate policy agreements with the Obama administration. Consequently, Republican legislators adopt uncompromising positions which contributes to a governing paralysis in a political system that requires agreement across institutions and disparate interests. In an important way, the Tea Party fuels the very disapproval of American political institutions held by them. Studies of polarization in the United States usually are between the Democratic and Republican Parties with both parties characterized as relatively homogeneous within their respective ideological space. Political conflict is between homogeneous liberal and conservative parties. The Tea Party, however, creates and exemplifies an intra-Republican Party polarity between traditional conservatives and its supporters. Recall the significant difference between identification with the Tea Party and non-Tea Party conservatives. This internal division likely exacerbates the ideological distance between the Republican and Democratic Parties. The issues most salient to Tea Party sympathizers fall within two domains – redistributive and cultural values. Partiers strongly oppose President Obama’s economic stimulus and health care reform bills as well as his proposal to increase income taxes on the wealthy. These policies share a redistributive character especially during an era of growing economic

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inequality. When combined with concerns about welfare and immigration, a powerful interaction seems to result creating strong opposition to those who are undeserving of scarce economic resources. Supporters exacerbate racial and ethnic cleavages present in the United States, encourage opponents of immigration and welfare policies to move to the Republican Party and tend to push many minorities to identify with the Democratic Party. In turn, inter-party ideological polarization intensifies. Opposition to funding for stem cell research and ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” are cultural values litmus issues. Initially, Tea Party supporters were characterized as secular. By 2011 and 2012 there is meaningful overlap between conservative Christians and Tea Party supporters. Consequently, the Tea Party likely will further encourage religious polarization. Political parties and populist movements often reveal internal contradictions and the Tea Party is no exception. In fact, supporters seem to reflect a paradox. Partiers are outraged by the expansive size of government, irresponsible spending, and intrusion into the lives of citizens. Yet, the religious conservative element of the Tea Party wants government to be more intrusive regarding morality and infuse religious values into policy. While partiers bemoan the excesses of banks and Wall Street, they oppose governmental regulation of the private economic sector. A major conflict in American politics is defining the appropriate balance between the power of private interests and democratic political institutions. Will private (economic) interests dominate American democratic institutions, or can those institutions exert some measure of majoritarian control? Partiers seem to sense the conflict, but fall into line behind the dominance of the marketplace, which may contribute to the very problems they identify; their partisan predisposition seems to trump their populist complaints. The influence of the Tea Party on the ideological spectrum must be understood relative to the rest of the electorate. Certainly, the Tea Party has increased the distance between the Republican Party and the centerleft Democratic Party. Furthermore, the Tea Party seems to be a catalyst for change within the Republican Party. Partiers’ intense dislike of President Obama and affection for Sarah Palin are symbolic of the ideological metamorphosis. The more significant implication is the Tea Party’s effect on the ideological center. Campbell and Putnam argue that religious conservatives’ infusion of religion and politics alienates independent voters (2012). As culture warriors join the Tea Party the relevance of the Republican Party seems increasingly distant to those in the middle. Dalton (2013) finds that only 23% of the American electorate

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claimed to be independent in 1952. By 2008 the percentage of independents was 40% and outnumbered both Democrats at 34% and Republicans at 26%. Further, the large group of independents is increasingly fragmented (PEW, 2011). Consequently, the disorganization of the ideological center actually augments the political influence of a highly cohesive and politically engaged conservative movement. In the short term, the Tea Party phenomenon seems to enjoy out-sized influence in the Republican Party and perhaps generally on American politics. In many ways, the Tea Party exhibits a tendency toward the “paranoid style of politics” in the United States identified by Richard Hofstadter (1963). Hofstadter noted that acute class conflict rarely touched American politics as in other countries, but we have been affected “again and again” by “uncommonly angry minds”. Writing in reaction to the Goldwater movement, Hofstadter remarked at “how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority” (Hofstadter, 1963: 3). The Tea Party, too, seems to enjoy outsized influence in the Republican Party and Congress despite its small national following. Their zeal, cohesion, and determination afford disproportionate influence inside American political institutions. Unlike the hostility directed towards particular groups, the wrath of Tea Partiers seems to be directed towards government itself – although clearly racial and ethnic intolerance are present among some sympathizers. Still the angry mind seems to be a feature of American political culture with the potential to disrupt governance. Paradoxically, much of the frustration of Tea Party sympathizers likely will be exaggerated if their opposition to many government policies is realized. Supporters are solidly middle-class. Perhaps this breeds their anger as growing economic inequality creates greater distance between the hyper-rich and the rest of the population. The unresponsiveness of politicians is likely the result of interest group domination of government. Hofstadter concludes, “We are all sufferers from history, but the paranoid is a double sufferer, since he is afflicted not only by the real world, with the rest of us, but by his fantasies as well” (Hofstadter, 1963: 40).

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Appendix The estimates for the percent likelihood that a supporter of the Tea Party will vote in the 2010 elections are obtained by the following regression, (1)

Percent Likely Vote = 27.3* + 17.8* (tea) + 9.6* (education) + 8.9* (income) + 11.0* (age) + .0005 (pid) + e, Adj R-square = 0.25 N = 1123 *p