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 9780415425605, 0415425603

Table of contents :
Front Cover
Radical Left Parties in Europe
Copyright Page
Contents
List of illustrations
Acknowledgements
List of abbreviations
1. Introduction
2. From communist crisis to post-communist mutation
3. The Western European communists: perpetual crisis?
4. The fall and (partial) rise of the Eastern European communists
5. Modern democratic socialists or old-style social democrats?
6. Left-wing populism: populist socialists and social populists
7. Transnational party organizations: towards a new International?
8. Parties and the wider movement
9. Explaining electoral success and failure (with Charlotte
Rommerskirchen)
10. Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Citation preview

Radical Left Parties in Europe

What has happened to the European radical left since the collapse of the USSR? How has it reacted, reformed, even revived? This new volume is one of the first to provide an overview of the main developments in contemporary European radical left parties (those defining themselves as to the left of, and not merely on the left of social democracy), which are now an increasingly visible phenomenon in European party politics. Unlike many of the existing studies it focuses on communist and non-communist parties, addresses their non-parliamentary and international activity, and takes a pan-European perspective, focusing on both Eastern and Western Europe. March focuses on key contemporary radical left parties, the nature of their radicalism and their ideological and strategic positions and, overall, addresses their current dynamics and immediate electoral prospects. The book argues that radical radical left parties are still afflicted by existential crises about the nature of ‘socialism’, and the future of communist parties in particular is under threat. The most successful left parties are no longer extremist, but present themselves as defending values and policies that social democrats have allegedly abandoned, focus on pragmatism rather than ideology and increasingly orientate themselves towards government. Providing a significant contribution to existing literature in the field, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of comparative politics, political parties and radical politics. Luke March is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Edinburgh. His research interests include European left parties and post-Soviet politics.

Routledge Studies in Extremism and Democracy Series Editors: Roger Eatwell, University of Bath, and Matthew Goodwin, University of Nottingham. Founding Series Editors: Roger Eatwell, University of Bath and Cas Mudde, University of Antwerp-UFSIA.

This series encompasses academic studies within the broad fields of ‘extremism’ and ‘democracy’. These topics have traditionally been considered largely in isolation by academics. A key focus of the series, therefore, is the (inter-)relation between extremism and democracy. Works will seek to answer questions such as to what extent ‘extremist’ groups pose a major threat to democratic parties, or how democracy can respond to extremism without undermining its own democratic credentials. The books encompass two strands: Routledge Studies in Extremism and Democracy includes books with an introductory and broad focus which are aimed at students and teachers. These books will be available in hardback and paperback. Titles include: 1.

Understanding Terrorism in America From the Klan to al Qaeda Christopher Hewitt

2.

Fascism and the Extreme Right Roger Eatwell

3.

Racist Extremism in Central and Eastern Europe Edited by Cas Mudde

4.

Political Parties and Terrorist Groups (2nd Edition) Leonard Weinberg, Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger

5.

The New Extremism in 21st Century Britain Edited by Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin

6.

New British Fascism: Rise of the British National Party Matthew Goodwin

7.

The End of Terrorism? Leonard Weinberg

Routledge Research in Extremism and Democracy offers a forum for innovative new research intended for a more specialist readership. These books will be in hardback only. Titles include: 1. Uncivil Society? Contentious politics in post-Communist Europe Edited by Petr Kopecky and Cas Mudde 2. Political Parties and Terrorist Groups Leonard Weinberg and Ami Pedahzur 3. Western Democracies and the New Extreme Right Challenge Edited by Roger Eatwell and Cas Mudde 4. Confronting Right Wing Extremism and Terrorism in the USA George Michael 5. Anti-Political Establishment Parties A comparative analysis Amir Abedi 6. American Extremism History, politics and the militia D. J. Mulloy 7. The Scope of Tolerance Studies on the costs of free expression and freedom of the press Raphael Cohen-Almagor 8. Extreme Right Activists in Europe Through the magnifying glass Bert Klandermans and Nonna Mayer 9. Ecological Politics and Democratic Theory Mathew Humphrey 10. Reinventing the Italian Right Territorial politics, populism and ‘post-fascism’ Carlo Ruzza and Stefano Fella 11. Political Extremes An investigation into the history of terms and concepts from antiquity to the present Uwe Backes

12. The Populist Radical Right in Poland The Patriots Rafal Pankowski 13. Social and Political Thought of Julius Evola Paul Furlong 14. Radical Left Parties in Europe Luke March 15. Counterterrorism in Turkey Policy choices and policy effects toward the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Mustafa Coşar Ünal

Radical Left Parties in Europe

Luke March

First published 2011 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RN Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2011 Luke March The right of Luke March to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data March, Luke. Radical left parties in Europe / Luke March. p. cm.—(Routledge studies in extremism and democracy ; 14) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978–0–415–42560–5 (hbk.)— ISBN 978–0–203–15487–8 (ebk.) 1. Political parties—Europe. 2. Radicalism—Europe. 3. Right and left (Political science)—Europe. 4. Communist parties—Europe. 5. Socialist parties—Europe. I. Title. JN50.M37 2011 324.2'17094—dc23 2011022525 ISBN 13: 978–0–415–42560–5 (hbk) ISBN 13: 978–0–203–15487–8 (ebk) Typeset in Times New Roman by Swales & Willis Ltd, Exeter, Devon

For Sara

Contents

List of illustrations Acknowledgements List of abbreviations 1 Introduction

x xi xii 1

2 From communist crisis to post-communist mutation

24

3 The Western European communists: perpetual crisis?

51

4 The fall and (partial) rise of the Eastern European communists

72

5 Modern democratic socialists or old-style social democrats?

94

6 Left-wing populism: populist socialists and social populists

118

7 Transnational party organizations: towards a new International? 149 8 Parties and the wider movement

167

9 Explaining electoral success and failure (with Charlotte Rommerskirchen)

180

10 Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index

201 214 219 250

Illustrations

Tables 1.1 Relevant European radical left parties in parliamentary elections, 1990–2010 1.2 European parliamentary elections: comparative ‘niche party’ performance, 1989–2009 1.3 Subtypes of relevant European RLPs 2.1 Percentage of national parliamentary vote for communist parties, 1918–1940 2.2 Average West European communist party electoral performance, 1945–1989 3.1 Relevant West European communist parties in parliamentary elections, 1990–2011 4.1 Relevant East European communist parties in parliamentary elections, 1990–2011 5.1 Relevant democratic socialist parties in pan-European parliamentary elections, 1990–2011 6.1 Relevant populist socialist parties in pan-European parliamentary elections, 1990–2011 6.2 Relevant social populist parties in pan-European parliamentary elections, 1990–2011 7.1 European affiliation of relevant radical left parties (2011) 7.2 European parliamentary elections: RLP performance and seats 9.1 Countries and parties examined 9.2 Summary of dependent variables 9.3 MAT and POSTMAT issue preference and the electoral success of RLPs 9.4 EU membership opposition and globalization anxiety (partial correlations) 9.5 Summary of independent variables 9.6 External determinants of RLP electoral success 9.7 Ideology and RLP electoral success 10.1 RLP government participation after 1990

2 5 17 29 31 59 74 100 140 146 157 159 182 183 185 187 192 193 198 208

Figure 3.1 The PCF and extreme left in French elections 1989–2009

66

Acknowledgements

Thanks are due to many people, but especially to Cas Mudde for being the original inspiration for this project and providing both guidance in its early stages and critical but constructive feedback prior to completion; to Peter Učen, Pavel Pšeja, Andrew Wilson for comments; to Malla Kantola of the Finnish Left Alliance and the International Secretary of the Danish Socialist People’s Party for providing useful documentary information; to Martin Herberg and Giorgos Karatsioubanis in the office of the Party of the European Left for assisting me with documents and interviews during multiple visits to Brussels; to Richard Dunphy, Myrto Tsakatika and Seán Hanley for reading all or part of earlier versions of the manuscript. Politics and International Relations at the University of Edinburgh were especially generous with research leave in 2007, which allowed a hefty chunk of the draft to be finished, while the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland funded research trips to Brussels. Above all, though, my wife Sara has supported me throughout my many hours at the coalface, and will be overjoyed to see the end of this book, possibly even marginally more than me!

Abbreviations

This list contains those abbreviations most commonly appearing in the text or tables. All other uncommon abbreviations are always accompanied by the full title when they first appear. AKEL BE/Bloco BePR CDU CP CPN CPSU EL EP EÜRP EÜVP GDR GJM GUE/NGL IU KKE KPRF KPU KSČM

Anorthotikó Kómma Ergazómenou Laoú (Progressive Party of Working People, Cyprus) Bloco de Esquerda (Left Bloc, Portugal) Blocul electoral ‘Patria-Rodina’ (Electoral Bloc Fatherland, Moldova) Coligação Democrática Unitária (United Democratic Coalition, Portugal) Communist party Communistische Partij Nederland (Communist Party of the Netherlands) Communist Party of the Soviet Union Enhedslisten – De Rød-Grønne (Red-Green Alliance, Denmark) European Parliament Eestimaa Ühendatud Rahvapartei (Estonian United People’s Party) Eestimaa Ühendatud Vasakpartei (Estonian United Left Party) German Democratic Republic Global Justice Movement Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left Izquierda Unida (United Left, Spain) Kommunistiko Komma Elladas (Communist Party of Greece) Kommunisticheskaya partiya Rossiiskoi Federatsii (Communist Party of the Russian Federation) Komunistychna Partiya Ukraïny (Communist Party of Ukraine) Komunistická strana Čech a Moravy (Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, Czech Republic)

Abbreviations xiii KSS LCR LÉNK LP LSP NELF NGL NPA PCE PCF PCI PCP PCRM PdCI PEL PES PRC/ Rifondazione RCS RLP RRP SF SI SKP-KPSS SP SV SYN

SYRIZA TNP TU V VAS VG WASG

Komunistická strana Slovenska (Communist Party of Slovakia) Ligue communiste révolutionnaire (Revolutionary Communist League, France) Déi Lénk (The Left, Luxembourg) Die Linke (The Left Party, Germany) Latvijas Sociālistiskā partija (Socialist Party of Latvia) New European Left Forum Nordic Green Left Nouveau parti anticapitaliste (New Anti-Capitalist Party, France) Partido Comunista de España (Communist Party of Spain) Parti Communiste Française (French Communist Party) Partito Comunista Italiano (Italian Communist Party) Partido Comunista Português (Portuguese Communist Party) Partidul Comuniştilor din Republica Moldova (Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova) Partito dei Comunisti Italiani (Party of Italian Communists) Party of the European Left Party of European Socialists Partito della Rifondazione Comunista (Party of Communist Refoundation, Italy) Rifondazione Comunista Sammarinese (Sammarinese Communist Refoundation) Radical left party Radical right party Socialistisk Folkeparti (Socialist People’s Party, Denmark) Socialist International Soyuz Kommunisticheskikh Partii – Kommunisticheskaya Partiya Sovetskogo (Soyuza Union of Communist Parties – Communist Party of the Soviet Union) Socialistische Partij (Socialist Party, Netherlands) Sosialistisk Venstreparti (Socialist Left Party, Norway) Synaspismós tīs Aristerás tōn Kinīmátōn kai tīs Oikologías (Coalition of the Left of Movements and Ecology, Greece; until 2003, called Synaspismós tīs Aristerás kai tīs Proódou, Coalition of the Left and Progress) Synaspismós Rizospastikís Aristerás (Coalition of the Radical Left, Greece) Transnational party Trade Union Vänsterpartiet (Left Party, Sweden) Vasemmistoliito (Left Alliance, Finland) Vinstrihreyfingin – grænt framboð (Left-Green Movement, Iceland) Arbeit und soziale Gerechtigkeit – Die Wahlalternative (Electoral Alternative for Labour and Social Justice)

1

Introduction

The hopes of radicals for a society in which, as Marx said, human beings could be ‘truly free’ seem to have turned out to be empty reveries. (Giddens 1994: 1)

The left is back. By this I do not mean the revival in interest in Marx and (particularly) Keynes after the international financial/economic crisis from 2007 to 2008 onwards (e.g. Skidelsky 2010; Hobsbawm 2011). After all, rumours of the death of neo-liberalism have been exaggerated – there is little sign (at least yet) of a substantive political or ideological paradigm shift (cf. Gamble 2009). Furthermore, according even to some on the left, the post-crisis ‘age of austerity’ across Europe may indicate that the right is currently winning the crisis (cf. Marquand 2010). This was clearly demonstrated by the European parliamentary (EP) elections in June 2009 when the right gained 47.8 per cent of the vote and the left (including Greens) merely 37.3 per cent. Nevertheless, although the crisis of centre-left social democracy is widely discussed, analysts have missed the longer-term trend that radical left parties (i.e. those defining themselves as to the left of, and not merely on the left of social democracy, which for brevity’s sake I will refer to as RLPs) have, albeit still partially, begun to recover from the collapse of communism. For sure, there have been many widely publicized instances of recent RLP failure (most notably the communist parties (CPs) in France, Italy and Spain). Yet, as Table 1.1 indicates, RLPs remain stable and significant in many countries (such as the Czech Republic, Norway and Sweden), have latterly reached a zenith in others (e.g. Iceland, Portugal, Greece, Denmark, Germany) and have long flourished in yet others (e.g. Cyprus, Moldova). Moreover, RLPs have moved from being marginal pariahs to coalition contenders in many countries. Whereas between 1947 and 1989 only the Finnish Communist Party regularly participated in government, since 1989 no RLP in an advanced liberal democracy has turned down a realistic offer of governmental coalition (Bale and Dunphy 2011). RLPs have been coalition components across Europe (e.g. in Iceland, France, Italy, Finland and Ukraine), dominant governing parties in some countries (Moldova and Cyprus), and in many others (e.g. Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands) their future government participation is far from unfeasible.

Average vote 1980–9

30.1 CP 0.9a 12.6 CP 13.5c 12.4 CP 10.4 1.6 15.4d 28.2e CP 5.1f CP 0.4

Country/Party

Cyprus (AKEL) Czech Republic (KSČM) Denmark (EL) Denmark (SF) Estonia (EÜVP) Finland (VAS) France (PCF) Germany (LP) Greece (KKE) Greece (SYN) Iceland (VG) Italy (PRC/PdCI) Latvia (LSP) Luxembourg (LÉNK) Moldova (PCRM) Netherlands (SP)

31.8 12.1 2.5 7.7 6.1*b 10.7 9.6 4.0 5.1 3.0 12.6 7.1 8.5* 2.5 30.1 2.4

Average vote 1990–9 32.9 14.2 2.7 8.5 0.3 9.3 4.6 8.2 6.8 4.0 14.9 6.0 19.8* 2.6 45.9 9.7

Average vote 2000–2010 2.8 n/a 1.8 –4.1 n/a –4.2 –7.8 n/a –3.6 2.4 –0.5 –22.2 n/a –2.5 n/a 9.3

Increase 1989–2010

Table 1.1 Relevant European radical left parties in parliamentary elections, 1990–2010§

1.1 2.1 0.2 0.8 –5.8 –1.4 –5.0 4.2 1.7 1.0* 2.3 –0.9 11.3 0.1 15.8 7.3

Increase 1999–2010

Post–1989 low

34.7 (2001) 30.6 (1991) 18.5 (2002) 10.3 (1996) 3.4 (2005) 1.7 (1990) 13.0 (2007) 6.0 (2005) 6.1* (1999) 0.1 (2007) 11.2 (1995) 8.1 (2011) 9.9 (1997) 4.3 (2007) 11.9 (2009) 2.4 (1990) 8.2 (2007) 4.5 (1993) 5.1 (1996) 2.9 (1993) 21.7 (2009) 8.8 (2003) 8.6 (1996) 3.1* (2008) 26.0* (2010) 5.6 (1995) 3.3 (1999/2009) 1.6 (1994) 50.1 (2001) 30.1 (1998) 16.6 (2006) 1.3 (1994)

Post–1989 high

6.8 15.6* n/a CP 26.6g CP 5.9* 5.6 n/a CP 11.2

7.0 8.8* 2.4 19.7 3.4 2.1 9.2* 7.6 2.0 18.7 8.5

9.2 7.5* 6.3 12.1 6.9 3.7 4.8* 6.6 3.8 9.7 9.7

2.4 –8.1 n/a n/a –19.7 n/a –1.1 1.0 n/a n/a –1.5

2.2 –1.3 3.9 –7.6 3.5 1.6 –4.4 –1.0 1.8 –9.0 1.2

12.5 (2001) 9.0* (1999) 9.8 (2009) 24.3 (1999) 8.7* (2006) 6.3 (2002) 9.2* (1993/6) 12.0 (1998) 6.9 (2003) 24.7 (1998)

6.0 (1997) 7.0* (2002) 2.4 (1999) 11.6 (2007) 3.3 (1998) 0.8 (1992/2010) 3.8* (2008) 4.5 (1991) 0.4 (2011) 3.7 (2006)

Notes § In this and all subsequent tables, ‘relevant’ is defined as obtaining at least 3 per cent of the vote and gaining parliamentary seats in at least one election * signifies in coalition; CP signifies ruling Communist Party a Danish Communist Party (DKP) b until 2006 as Estonian Left Party (prev. Estonian Social Democratic Labour Party) in coalition with Estonian United People’s Party (EÜRP) c Finnish People’s Democratic League (SKDL – in 1987 SKDL + Democratic Alternative) d People’s Alliance (AB) until 1995 e Italian Communist Party (PCI) f Communist Party of Luxembourg (KPL) until 1999 g Sammarinese Communist Party (PCS).

Source: www.parties–and–elections.de (data correct at 20 May 2011).

Norway (SV) Portugal (PCP) Portugal (BE) Russia (KPRF) San Marino (RCS) Slovakia (KSS) Spain (PCE) Sweden (V) UK (Scotland) (SSP) Ukraine (KPU) Overall average

4

Introduction

One would hardly know this from existing academic literature. Although the tide is beginning to change, the radical left is still the poor relation of contemporary party studies, certainly as compared with the number of recent books (not to mention articles) on Christian democratic, Green and social democratic parties. Moreover, dozens of analysts have focussed on manifold aspects of the radical/ extreme/populist right (e.g. Eatwell and Mudde 2004; Ignazi 2006; Mudde 2007; Hainsworth 2008).1 Most works on RLPs are either single country studies or limited cross-country comparisons (e.g. Bell and Criddle 1994; Curry and Urban 2003; Guiat 2003), or focus on one aspect of RLPs such as attitudes to European integration (Dunphy 2004) or governmental participation (Bale and Dunphy 2007, 2011; Hough and Verge 2009; Daiber 2010; Olsen et al. 2010; Dunphy and Bale 2011). The vast majority of comparative studies focus on CPs alone (and only in Western Europe) (e.g. Bell 1993; Bull and Heywood 1994; Botella and Ramiro 2003). Coverage of RLPs in Eastern Europe is dominated by study of so-called ‘successor parties’ (former ruling CPs), most of which have undergone socialdemocratization, and so are no longer radical (e.g. Racz and Bukowski 1999; Kitschelt et al. 1999; Bozóki and Ishiyama 2002; Grzymała-Busse 2002). Overall, there are precious few volumes studying RLPs across both Eastern and Western Europe. Those that exist have strengths but significant gaps. Both Hudson (2000) and Backes and Moreau (2008) focus mainly on communists and (non-radical) successor parties, while Hildebrandt and Daiber (2009) has a wide selection of parties but does not cover the former Soviet Union. All three volumes represent worthwhile collections of detailed case studies rather than truly comparative analyses, and all take normative stances towards their subject matter: Hudson (2000) and Hildebrandt and Daiber (2009) are written by party sympathizers, while Backes and Moreau (2008) seeks above all to explain the ‘extremism’ of its subject matter. Yet, as Table 1.1 shows, the European radical left in aggregate has been a relatively stable electoral actor since 1989, albeit varied and volatile in its components, and overall it has recovered (if only slightly) since its 1990s nadir. RLP performance in European elections (averaging six per cent support) is markedly less impressive (see Table 1.2), in large part because several countries (such as the UK, Austria and much of Eastern Europe) currently have marginal RLPs. Nevertheless, other so-called ‘niche parties’ (Adams et al. 2006), principally the Greens and radical right, also have a varied geographical spread and a weak European performance (Table 1.2). Judged on electoral performance and governmental participation alike, there is no objective reason why RLPs should be analysed any less than the much-studied Greens and radical right. The reasons for this lack of coverage surely reflect that, after the collapse of the USSR in 1990–1, RLPs (chiefly communists) were so divided and in such profound crisis both nationally and internationally that they no longer represented a coherent ‘party family’ (Bull 1994). Moreover, it is nigh-on impossible to begin any work such as this without mentioning the ‘end of history’ thesis (Fukuyama 1989). However discredited it is now, the idea that any significant radical challenges to liberal democracy and neo-liberal capitalism had been confined to the

Introduction 5 Table 1.2 European parliamentary elections: comparative ‘niche party’ performance, 1989–2009 Group Greens Radical right^ Radical left

Vote share (%) Countries represented Vote share (%) Countries represented Vote share (%) Countries represented

1989

1994

1999

2004

2009

Average

5.8

4.6

7.7*

5.5*

7.5*

6.2

7 3.3

10 3.2

12 2.6

14 3.2

14 4.3

11 3.32

3 8.1

3 5.3

4 6.7

8 5.2

9 4.8

5 6.0

7

8

10

14

13

10

Source: www.parties–and–elections.de Notes * Includes regionalist parties; ^ Eurosceptic and Nationalist groups combined; many radical right MEPs traditionally do not affiliate with party groups.

‘dustbin of history’ was persuasive in the early 1990s, given that the rapid autocombustion of the USSR’s ‘really existing socialism’ appeared to taint even anticommunist ‘democratic socialisms’ and the left as a whole. Many writers have more or less explicitly accepted the ‘end of history’. For example, Donald Sassoon’s exhaustive history of the twentieth-century West European left (1997) concentrated on Western social democracy, devoted little attention to CPs and largely ignored other RLPs.2 Indeed, the revised edition (2010: xiv) argues that post-1989 ‘social democracy was the only form of socialism left in Europe’. Sassoon regards radicalism as in its ‘last redoubt’ by the 1980s, with the left converging around a neo-liberal consensus; his definition of the contemporary left excludes radicalism altogether, encompassing merely ‘the mainstream socialist, social-democratic and labour parties, including the former communist parties’ (Sassoon 1998: 3). Similarly, the (initial) electoral success of parties such as Britain’s Labour Party and Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), which espoused the so-called ‘third way’ in the 1990s, convinced many others that the neo-liberalism of socialism was inevitable. Anthony Giddens, an architect of the ‘New Labour’ project in Britain, argued that the mantle of radicalism had passed to the iconoclastic Thatcherite/Reaganite right, while the left as a whole had become conservative, trying desperately to defend the remnants of interventionist Keynesian welfarism, without the ability to offer a more forwardoriented vision (Giddens 1994; 1998). This is a powerful critique, but the subsequent decline of the ‘third way’ parties means that it was overdue re-consideration even before the 2007–8 crisis. Kate Hudson was among the first to dispute the ‘end of history’ thesis, arguing that ‘the rightward movement of social democracy over the last decade . . . had the entirely predictable result of opening up a large political space to its left’ for parties converging against neo-liberalism (2000: 11). Hudson’s thesis was flawed, partly because of an unjustified expectation that communists would lead

6

Introduction

the New European Left. But this so-called ‘vacuum thesis’ (proposing that the neo-liberalization of social democracy increases the electoral and issue ‘vacuum’ for the radical left) is also dubious because other parties (including Greens but above all the radical right) have proven abilities to attract voters disaffected with the mainstream centre-left (Patton 2006; Lavelle 2008). Indeed, the rise of the contemporary radical right is often traced to a so-called ‘modernization crisis’: the movement towards a post-industrial economy, the decline of the post-war ‘social democratic consensus’ since the 1970s and the flourishing of globalization provides ample space for new forms of insecurity and protest by the ‘losers of modernization’ associated with the perception of the declining ability of the state to control borders, the economy and welfare (e.g. Betz 1994: Abedi 2004). The perception that contemporary social democracy has no answer to this modernization crisis increases direct defection to the radical right (Coffe 2008). Nevertheless, Hudson rightly identified the potential for RLPs to mobilize. The ‘end of history’ has demonstrably not resulted in the demise of global inequality, poverty, conflict and oppression. RLPs appear well-placed to benefit from social democracy’s apparent abandonment of traditional causes such as equality, universal welfarism and economic interventionism – albeit the radical right might better express identity concerns such as opposition to Europe and immigration. Socioeconomic discontent returned as a major feature of social mobilization in demonstrations against privatization and welfare cuts in France, Italy and Germany in the mid-1990s. Globally, the ‘Asian crisis’ of 1997–8 revealed the travails of the so called ‘Washington Consensus’ (neo-liberal marketization and trade liberalization promoted by the Euro-Atlantic financial institutions). The rise of the ‘global justice movement’ (GJM), especially after the 1999 Seattle G8 summit, showed the reaction against global neo-liberalism reaching a new high.3 Whatever else Seattle meant (and there has been fierce dispute ever since), RLPs argue that it signified at least the ‘end of the end of history’: the neo-liberal tide beginning to ebb (Klein 2002: 1). ‘Another world is possible’, one of the GJM’s key slogans, recognized that even without a specific programme an alternative could exist theoretically (ibid.). Similarly, the GJM inferred that Margaret Thatcher’s statement that ‘There is no alternative’ to global neo-liberalism was now patently false. The sense of anti-capitalist momentum was further fuelled by the rise of the left in Latin America (above all Venezuela, Bolivia and Brazil), showing an evident loss of support for neo-liberalism in the USA’s backyard and providing new inspiration and models of operation for global activists to replace Cuba’s fading model (e.g. Raby 2006; Kaltwesser 2010). Although at the time of writing it remains thoroughly unclear whether the international economic crisis can further and lastingly boost the left’s self-confidence, former Dutch Socialist Party (SP) leader Jan Marijnissen’s contention (2006) that RLPs can increasingly turn from pessimism to a ‘new optimism’, because ‘[b]attles may well have been lost, but the war is there to be won’, is no longer so utopian. Contemporary capitalism, even if not doomed to crisis, is certainly riddled with it.

Introduction 7

Research questions This book aims to provide a broad but detailed overview of the main features of and developments in contemporary European RLPs. It supplements the few recent works that have explicitly sought to reinstate this topic’s validity in the study of both political parties and political radicalism (e.g. March and Mudde 2005; Bale and Dunphy 2011). Like the latter authors, I argue that RLPs now comprise a ‘normal’ party family with enough common policy and practice to justify being brought in ‘from the cold’ to the centre of comparative party study. The volume aims to make a three-fold contribution to existing literature. Its first two aims are primarily empirical. Unlike most books so far written on the topic, I will focus on RLPs as a whole, and not just on one sub-set of political parties – therefore I include communist and non-communist parties, and address their nonparliamentary and international activity. Second, I will take a pan-European perspective, focusing on both Eastern and Western Europe. Accordingly, I aim to address the often-posed question of ‘what is left of the left?’ (e.g. Sferza 1999) by providing a comparative analysis of key contemporary RLPs, their ideological and strategic positions, and addressing the current state and immediate prospects of the whole European radical left. Third, this study aims to make a theoretical contribution to literature on radical politics more generally. Most literature on the nature of radicalism pertains to the right of the political spectrum. I will outline a clear definition of the term ‘radical left’ and explore the nature of this ‘radicalism’ throughout the book: party platforms and party behaviour will be one focus, as will RLPs’ role within European democratic politics at the national and international level. Accordingly, the main research questions this book explores are these: • • • • •

What are the key ideological and strategic positions of contemporary European RLPs? How do these positions differ across countries and regions (i.e. Western and Eastern Europe)? What is ‘radical’ about RLPs today? For instance, to what extent do they pose any coherent alternative to capitalism and/or liberal democracy? What are the reasons for the electoral success (or lack thereof) of RLPs in different European countries? What has been the overall impact of RLPs on European politics, at both the national and international level?

Defining the ‘European radical left’ All the concepts in the term ‘European radical left’ are problematic! Therefore a brief discussion is necessary, although this term is nevertheless preferable to any other available. First, a pan-European view adds a number of complexities (e.g. differing national histories, greater number of cases and related risks of over-generalization).

8

Introduction

Moreover, by focussing on ‘wider Europe’ beyond the EU, I risk confronting the problem the EU itself faces in defining where Europe ends. However, the lack of significant RLPs in Turkey and the Caucasus, and the absence of political competition in authoritarian Belarus, allows the focus to be narrowed to those countries in Table 1.1. Dividing the continent into Eastern and Western Europe (as I do throughout this book) is still more problematic, not least because many of the countries of the former Eastern Bloc now see themselves as ‘central’ European actors (regardless of geography) and view the appellate ‘East’ as a synonym for backwardness. Actually, there is much evidence that the passage of time, globalization and the EU’s geopolitical pull have caused convergence between Eastern and Western Europe, particularly in the party arena (Lewis 2000; Mudde 2007). Therefore, when I use ‘Eastern Europe’ in this volume, I use it as shorthand for ‘the former communist bloc’, rather than implying any primordial ‘orientalism’. Nevertheless, the East’s state-socialist legacy and the processes of state building provide an undoubtedly different context for RLPs. Generally, since 1989 the Eastern European radical left has been weaker: on one hand, some Eastern European CPs remain the strongest radical left parties across all Europe; on the other hand, post-communist radical left traditions have infinitesimal influence and the radical left is virtually absent in many East European countries. Party competition has been relatively ‘open’, unstructured and volatile and, owing to issues of state building and ethnic inclusion, radicalism has generally taken right-wing or populist forms (e.g. Mair 1997). A pan-European view is certainly important, and not just because of my personal view that the inward-looking EU has little right to monopolize the definition of ‘European’. First, the prospect of future membership (however distant) or at least EU-sponsored policy convergence for the EU’s immediate neighbours simply means that to focus on former Western Europe is short-sighted. Second, the contemporary radical left ostensibly opposes the EU in its current form and defines itself more broadly; therefore the question as to whether there is a coherent European radical left outside the EU institutions is important. Third, some of the most successful RLPs (e.g. in Moldova, Czech Republic, Iceland, Cyprus) are either outside the EU or were so until the 2004 enlargement, and study of these is intrinsically interesting and relevant, especially given that, as with the radical right, the number of very successful cases within the EU is not overwhelming (Mudde 2007). As for the term ‘radical left’, fleshing out what key parties mean by their radicalism, and how they differ, are core tasks for the coming chapters. Nevertheless, the broad working definition used throughout is the following (cf. Betz (1994: 4) for an analogous definition of the radical right): RLPs are radical first in that they reject the underlying socio-economic structure of contemporary capitalism and its values and practices (ranging, depending on party, from rejection of consumerism and neo-liberalism to outright opposition to private property and capitalistic profit incentives). Second, they advocate alternative economic and power structures involving a major redistribution of resources from existing political elites. RLPs are left first in their

Introduction 9 identification of economic inequality as the basis of existing political and social arrangements and their espousal of collective economic and social rights as their principal agenda. Second, anti-capitalism is more consistently expressed than anti-democratic sentiment, although a radical subversion of liberal democracy may be implicit in the redistributive aims of many parties. Finally, this left is internationalist, both in terms of its search for cross-national networking and solidarity, and in its assertion that national and regional socio-political issues have global structural causes (such as ‘imperialism’ or ‘globalization’). I prefer the term ‘radical left’ to alternatives such as ‘hard left’ and ‘far left’ (e.g. Hough 2005), which can appear pejorative and imply that this left is necessarily marginal. Richard Dunphy’s (2004: 2) ‘transformative left’ refers to parties ‘to the left of social democracy that have historically called for a transcendence of the capitalist economic system and that still voice such aspirations.’ This term is derived from the Italian Communist Party (PCI)’s linguistic practice in the 1980s, but has not been much used since (although the German Left Party (LP) increasingly employs it). Its meaning is essentially analogous to my understanding of ‘radical left’. A key advantage of the term ‘radicalism’ is that it intrinsically implies transformative aims (deriving from the Latin for root (radix) and denoting an orientation towards ‘root-and-branch’ change of the political system occupied by the radical actor). Moreover, using it retains focus on the fundamental identity issues that have historically confronted RLPs. For instance, Marx spoke of ‘radical needs’ intrinsic to human nature that cannot be satisfied within the existing social structure: ‘To be radical is to grasp things by the root. But for man the root is man himself . . . the categorical imperative is to overthrow all conditions in which man is a debased, enslaved, neglected and contemptible being’ (Marx 1975: 251, original emphasis). Many ‘far left’ actors today also see the term ‘radical’ as symbolizing a commitment to systemic change (e.g. Benn 2003). However, as I will indicate throughout this book, the degree to which RLPs can implement these radical needs in thoroughly de-radicalizing environments remains a key question. Finally, Mudde (2010) has argued that core features of radical right ideology (e.g. nativism and authoritarianism) are not marginal societal values but a radicalization of mainstream beliefs. In a similar way, many core features of radical left ideology can be regarded as a radicalization of values held by (some of) the political mainstream, such as egalitarianism and internationalism. There are two main problems with using ‘radicalism’. One is that a stark division between radical and centre-left ideology is easier to observe in theory than practice. Rhetorical radicalism remains important for many social democrats even when the evidence is far from compelling (Tony Blair calling Labour the ‘radical centre’ being the obvious example). Moreover, although as parties they no longer demand systemic change of neo-liberal capitalism (this being their chief difference from the radical left) many social democratic parties contain members supporting greater radicalism. What’s more, RLPs themselves cloud the picture, because anticapitalism is not always explicit in their party statements. Seeking to appeal to

10

Introduction

disaffected social democratic voters or demonstrate their own coalition credentials often leads to rhetorical moderation and even a certain social-democratization (cf. Keith 2010b: 163). Finally, their ambiguous radicalism often reflects intra-party disagreements. For example, Hildebrandt and Striethorst (2010) argue that the German LP is fundamentally unclear about whether it is an ‘antineoliberal or anticapitalist party or [a] party that is critical towards capitalism’, with crucial issues such as its stance towards private property and analysis of capitalism undecided. In general, and consistent with my thesis that RLP ideology is a radicalization of mainstream views, the distinction between the radical and centre-left is of degree not kind. Relative to social democrats, RLPs are far more systematically critical of neo-liberal capitalism and its underlying structures (both the capitalist state and neo-liberal globalization); they place more emphasis on outright equality and economic redistribution (rather than the ‘social justice’, ‘fairness’ and ‘equality of opportunity’ often articulated by the centre-left). In the international arena, social democrats are relatively uncritical of Euro-Atlantic political, security and economic structures (such as the EU, NATO and IMF). However, RLPs have made reform/abolition of these structures a key identity marker vis-à-vis the social democrats (Moschonas 2009). Finally, as I will argue, much of each RLP’s radicalism is ‘situational’ – that is, perhaps falling short of an ideal-typical radicalism but still articulating issues radical in the party’s national context (such as support for Scottish independence or the legalization of abortion in Portugal). The second main problem with ‘radicalism’ is that observers often elide ‘radicalism’ with ‘extremism’ and use both interchangeably (e.g. Merkl and Weinberg 1993; Kitschelt and McGann 1995). Losing analytical distinction between ‘radical’ and ‘extreme’ is particularly prevalent in the post-9/11 climate, where governments and security services everywhere have been concerned with ‘radicalization’ as a process in forming (Islamic) terrorism. This obviously has negative practical consequences – it becomes easy for one person’s radical to be another’s terrorist. The German legal tradition has made a clearer attempt to distinguish extremism from radicalism that has been influential among scholars of the radical right. Since the 1970s the (West) German state has made a legal distinction between radikalismus, a radical critique of the constitutional order without anti-democratic meaning or intention, and extremismus, which is anti-democratic, anti-liberal, anti-constitutional and open to prohibition (e.g. Mudde 1996; Ignazi 2006). Yet this definition does not obviate the problems of defining the terms essentially from the point of view of the existing authorities, or of seeing radicalism as a half-way house towards extremism (probably why the LP avoids the term) (Eatwell and Mudde 2004). It is therefore more persuasive to define radicalism and extremism from the perspective of liberal democracy, since this is now the ‘only game in town’ and applies to most European countries (Mudde 2006). Within this liberal democratic context, extremists are anti-democrats per se, while radicals are anti-liberal democratic, but not anti-democratic per se (ibid.). Therefore radical left parties demand ‘root-andbranch’ change of elements of the liberal democratic system (e.g. the neo-liberal economic model, representative, as opposed to participatory, democracy) but do

Introduction 11 not contest the principle of democracy itself and therefore locate themselves within democracy. ‘Extremism’ in contrast is an ideological and practical opposition to democracy, either as it exists in a particular system, or as a system. This may, but does not necessarily, involve a propensity to violence (which when systematically pursued for political aims implies that someone is a ‘terrorist’ rather than simply extremist). Extremist political parties therefore represent ‘anti-system’ positions in terms of contesting the fundamental institutions or values of the liberal democratic regime (Sartori, 1976), whereas radical parties approximate to a ‘semi-loyal’ position, contesting only certain elements of liberal democracy.4 In practice, any strict distinction between radicalism and extremism is hard to operationalize, in part because extremist parties often cloak their policies in a patina of democratic rhetoric and constitutional practice to avoid being banned (e.g. Hainsworth 2000). Moreover, in practice the concepts overlap, because although not all radicals are extremists, extremism (involving ‘root-and-branch’ change of the democratic system) is necessarily radical. Although my focus in this book is radical parties, I cannot avoid discussing several that are more extreme, because their practice is ambiguous. For example, the CPs of Greece and Russia maintain elements of a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist programmatic and rhetorical identity (even Stalinoid, in terms of expressing uncritical nostalgia for the USSR). However, their day-to-day practice is more cautious, even conservative, involving an apparently sincere commitment to incrementalism, parliamentarism and constitutionalism that means that they can be regarded as ‘semi-loyal’ rather than ‘anti-system’ actors. Accordingly, each party’s radicalism cannot be taken on face value, but needs to be examined through assessment of both its ideological and strategic aims and conduct over time. Similarly, the term ‘left’ is not unproblematic. Theses such as the ‘end of history’ and the earlier ‘end of ideology’ (Bell 1965) argued that traditional ideological and class polarities were losing their meaning in ‘post-industrial’ societies. Moreover, as ‘third way’ theorists made clear, the new consensus was based on the values of the right – as Sassoon argues (1997: 776) ‘the ideology of the “endof-ideology” is not that of socialists’. Yet such convergence is convincingly belied by a plethora of surveys. Although clearly the left–right distinction is a simplification not encapsulating the full range of political divisions, it is still understood as a heuristic category by most European voters, and one which helps summarize their views on the most salient issues (e.g. Dalton 2005; Ignazi 2006). ‘Left’ and ‘right’ are terms that have demonstrated tremendous adaptive capacity, adopting different meanings at various times and in various national contexts (Sani and Sartori 1983; Mair 1997). Nevertheless, Norberto Bobbio (1996) forcefully argues that, however supplemented by more local concerns, the core of the left– right distinction is still divergent attitudes towards equality. For the left, inequalities are unnatural, socially produced and eliminable through state action; for the right, they are natural and durable. As Bernard Crick argues (1987), while liberty, equality and fraternity are basic (democratic) socialist values, it is only equality that is specifically socialist in itself. Oddbjørn Knutsen’s (1995) detailed study of Eurobarometer data concurs that new meanings of left and right supplement but

12

Introduction

do not replace old meanings, which remain dominated by questions of economic equality deriving from industrialization. This is even increasingly true in Eastern Europe. Historically in the Soviet period ‘left’ and ‘right’ were employed solely to describe ‘deviations’ from the ‘correct’ party line, with ‘left’ implying an excessiveness of, and ‘right’ an insufficiency of, revolutionary zeal (Williams and Hanson 1997). In the 1990s, the terms changed sense rapidly, but were not thought likely to develop consistent meaning, partly because of party system flux, but also since most East European societies had avoided the great labour–capital conflicts of nineteenth-century Western Europe (mass industrialization being undertaken by the communist regimes). Indeed most East European countries retain specific features (particularly in the former Soviet bloc): their parties generally have weaker ties to members, voters and constituencies than Western ones and so their available mobilization strategies are broader, encompassing single issues, identity politics and populism to a greater extent than further west (Jasiewicz 2003; Sitter 2003). The left–right polarity in the East tends to be broader, encompassing moral/cultural/historical as well as socio-economic cleavages (for instance communism vs. anti-communism and secularism vs. religion). Accordingly, a number of ‘non-standard’ parties (particularly populists, but the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and Serbian Socialist Party are key examples) have espoused left-wing socio-economic platforms alongside culturally nationalist values, making them difficult to place on a traditional left–right scale (cf. Wightman and Szomolänyi 1995). Nevertheless, the Eastern political landscape is becoming more structured and stable with the left–right spectrum assuming familiar attributes (e.g. Evans and Whitefield 1998). Recent surveys show that the majority of Eastern European electorates can place themselves on a left–right scale, albeit with significant national differences. In particular, there are over twice as many ‘don’t knows’ in Eastern than in Western Europe, and more people place themselves at the political extremes (McAllister and White 2007). Yet, especially in more developed countries like the Czech Republic, the main social cleavages are similar to those in established democracies, with religion and class predominating. Moreover, the salience of left as an Eastern political label is demonstrated by parties like the (social democratic) Democratic Left Alliance (Poland) and (radical left) Estonian United Left Party.

Contemporary dilemmas of socialist radicalism As noted above, one of the key virtues of using the term ‘radical left’ is that it helps focus on a key (if not the key) strategic dilemma that has always confronted left parties, and which (in different form) continues to do so: how to change capitalism radically from within. Lenin, ever alert to questions of power, formulated this dilemma adroitly: It is not difficult to be a revolutionary when revolution has already broken out . . . when all people are joining the revolution . . . because it is the vogue . . .

Introduction 13 It is far more difficult . . . to be a revolutionary when the conditions for direct, open, really mass and really revolutionary struggle do not yet exist, to be able to champion the interests of the revolution . . . in non-revolutionary bodies, and quite often in downright reactionary bodies, in a non-revolutionary situation, among the masses who are incapable of immediately appreciating the need for revolutionary methods of action. (Lenin 1970: 79–80) Lenin’s answer to this dilemma in 1902’s What is to be Done? was the formation of a tightly-organized and disciplined revolutionary party (Lenin 1952). This was a successful solution in specific circumstances, where prolonged regime failure, military defeat and social discontent led to a revolutionary situation ripe for such a ‘vanguard party’ to exploit. But the Leninist model proved notoriously difficult to export to the more economically advanced countries that Marx and Engels saw as the seedbeds of revolution: RLPs in Western Europe had to contend with more stable political systems, more unified middle and upper classes, the consolidation of international capital, a non-revolutionary peasantry (even where present) and a working class which had only comparatively rarely exhibited anything more radical than the ‘trade union consciousness’ Lenin so excoriated. However, the parliamentary road to socialism has proved equally beset with pitfalls. Przeworski and Sprague (1986: 3) hold that all left parties, ‘socialist, social democratic, labor (sic) communist and other’ who seek to organize society on class terms face the so-called ‘dilemma of democratic socialism’ – the choice between a ‘party homogenous in its class appeal but doomed to perpetual electoral defeats or a party that struggles for electoral success at the cost of diluting its class orientation’. The Marxist industrial proletariat never became a numerical majority in any modern capitalist society, and in post-industrial capitalist states the heterogeneous class structure makes it still more certain that a purely worker-based strategy will guarantee an electoral minority. Accordingly, left parties face a trade-off between an electoral majority and working class support, constraining their strategic options and posing a ‘magic-barrier’ to electoral expansion. Moreover, according to Przeworski and Sprague, all radical parties face an additional dilemma: the ‘perverse trick’ of democratic institutions is that the more successful radicals are at exploiting them, the more their radicalism risks being undermined. If one succeeds in initiating change by participating in a democratic system, claims that the ‘system is bankrupt’ or ‘parliament is a sham’ weaken, and incremental reforms thereby discredit arguments for more fundamental revolution (cf. Ferris 1993: 13). Even radical right parties (with obvious historical exceptions) have a poor record of being radical in government, often becoming ‘tamed’ by the exigencies of power (Heinisch 2003). Therefore a ‘radical dilemma’ of a trade-off between ‘identity’ versus ‘efficacy’ has consistently confronted radical movements of left and right (Shull 1999: 4). This found its most famous expression in the conflict between Realos (realists) and Fundis (fundamentalists) within the German Green Party in the 1980s: Fundis articulated a radical identity even

14

Introduction

at the cost of tactical/strategic compromise and programmatic moderation, but Realos promoted pragmatism and compromise with the aim of demonstrable policy achievements. Needless to say, such conflicts have often been rancorous: Realos are accused of dual standards and ‘selling out’ their radical aims. Fundis are alleged to prefer a ‘radicalism through failure’: that is non-constructive antisystemic rhetoric where paradoxically a lack of any practical achievements (e.g. in gaining votes or achieving parliamentary reforms) is considered a success, because it demonstrates the unreformability of the system, or simply reaffirms a radical identity (Wiesenthal 1993: 34). For socialists, traditionally the most concerned of all to find the ‘correct’ theoretical line, the cardinal choice has been between ‘following the Bernsteinian temptation of immersion in a “reformist reality” at the risk of dispensing with theory, or remaining theoretically pure, waiting for “the day” . . . [when] the powder may be dry, but rather small in quantity’ (Townshend 1996: 197). In contemporary Europe, this dilemma is no less salient because of the profoundly de-radicalizing environment. In European party politics and public opinion at least, the ‘end of history’ thesis finds partial validation in the decline of popular support for anti-democratic alternatives since the Soviet era and wide preferences not just for democracy as the best political system in the abstract, but for ‘really existing democracy’ within Europe (e.g. Eurobarometer 2007). Accordingly, many proclaim an end to ‘significant oppositions, that is, systematic rival outlooks’ within the West (Anderson 2000: 17). This is an exaggeration: democratic support remains ‘diffuse’ and co-exists with deep distrust in specific institutions such as parliaments and parties that remains a fertile ground for ‘antisystem’ political mobilization (Mudde 2006). Nevertheless, with democracy being the ‘only game in town’, the scope for anti-system politics has clearly drastically narrowed, with openly extreme movements being generally electorally unpopular in both Western and Eastern Europe. Since the zenith of the Red Brigades and Red Army Faction in the 1970s, left-wing terrorists have declined, to be supplanted by Islamists as Europe’s principal terrorist threat. Moreover, the processes of globalization and EU integration (in particular), with their emphasis on free-trade regimes, market deregulation and economic conditionality, have provided a profoundly integrating and homogenizing impetus described by Bastiaan van Apeldoorn (2001) as ‘embedded neo-liberalism’ that has provided an existential challenge to the left’s traditionally state-centric economic interventionism. Moschonas (2009:17) agrees that the EU is at odds with much of socialist ideology, moderate or radical. As it has traditionally been more concerned with market opening and integration policies than economic regulation as well as being often detrimental to more encompassing welfare states or Keynesian deficit spending, the EU is antagonist towards the left’s traditional state-centrism. During the EU integration process, left parties in government have frequently been forced to adopt pragmatist positions and thus converge with the centre-right. The end of Soviet ideological, financial and moral support is welcomed by many RLPs, but this absence, combined with the lack of any convincing model of contemporary ‘really existing socialism’ (Venezuela, Bolivia and China

Introduction 15 notwithstanding) makes it still harder for them to swim against the neo-liberal tide and to contest capitalism in any sustained way. This is especially so since (as Chapter 2 illustrates), the twentieth-century experience of radical parliamentary socialism gives little grounds for optimism about the prospects of fundamental reform of capitalism from within. The ‘what is to be done’ question is therefore still relevant to RLPs, and how different ones respond to it is a theme of this study. Briefly summarising, we will see that traditional questions of ‘reform’ versus ‘revolution’ are now largely irrelevant except on the fringes, since most significant radical (if not extreme) left parties have reconciled themselves to the necessity of ‘reform’ through parliamentary democracy and have consigned systemic transformation to the longer term. Most are open (in principle) to government participation, to adopting causes abandoned by ‘neo-liberal’ social democracy, and to pragmatism and compromise in the aim of policy implementation. In sum, the Realos are now becoming dominant in most significant RLPs, although their positions are often challenged internally. Moreover, most leaders are aware that strategies that rely on the traditional industrial proletariat are insufficient and either define the working class ever more broadly (e.g. Sheridan and McCombes (2000: 21) define it as ‘more or less everyone who works for an employer’) and/or are increasingly open to cross-class strategies and ideological approaches, especially environmentalism and populism. In this way, the contemporary radical left rejects any permanent ‘magic barrier’ to a socialist majority within democracy, even if this majority may now have to be won in alliance with other (principally social democratic and Green) parties, and alongside the extra-parliamentary GJM. Nevertheless, such pragmatic and incremental strategies make the danger of ‘immersion in a “reformist” reality’ ever more central. As we shall see, far from all RLPs are de-radicalizing, but the pressure of de-radicalization is a constant factor.

Categorising radical left parties Which parties are ‘radical left’? In the following chapters I mainly identify RLPs according to their ideological affinity. There are of course other illuminating ways to do so, including party origins, historical tradition, international affiliation, policy choices (e.g. regarding government participation, the EU etc.). However, focussing on ideology (the ‘party family’ approach) has the virtue of focussing more on the longer-term questions of what parties are in terms of ideology, strategy and identity than shorter-term questions of what they do in terms of electoral tactics and specific policy preferences (Mair 1997: 20–24; Mair and Mudde 1998). This approach cannot altogether avoid the ‘challenge of circularity’ – in other words, that the criteria one needs for selecting parties a priori can only come from examining them post facto (cf. Mudde 2007). However, parties’ selfdefinition and international affiliation help clarify this – since all parties in focus regard themselves as to the left of social democracy and are part of international associations (for example, the Party of the European Left, PEL) that also have a (radical) left self-definition.

16

Introduction

Categorizing RLPs is complicated by the presence in each country of a dozen or more sect-like groupuscules that rarely have national significance (for example the UK currently has at least three CPs). In order to make a pan-European view minimally manageable, each chapter will focus on ‘relevant’ political parties. These are defined as those which have gained over three per cent of the national vote and parliamentary seats on at least one occasion since 1990.5 The sole (partial) exception to this definition will be the study of the Scottish Socialist Party since, although Scotland is a nation, it is not an independent one. However, this case is used in part to illuminate the lack of success for the wider UK radical left. Reference will be made to others, such as the French ‘Trotskyists’, who have had influence on movements and party subcultures without electoral relevance. For the most part, I will be looking at parties which fulfil one of Sartori’s (1976) two criteria for ‘relevance’: those possessing coalition and ‘blackmail’ potential (i.e. able to affect the behaviour of other relevant parliamentary parties), although symptomatically few RLPs fulfill both criteria. How best to categorize RLPs? Gallagher et al. (2005) divide the Western European left into four subgroups: social democrats, communists, the new left and Greens. However, neither the social democrats nor Greens have long been radical as parties. Moreover, the new left as a concept is less relevant now that many communists and social democrats have appropriated its agenda (for which see Chapter 2), while for historical reasons it is largely absent in Eastern Europe. Few have so far sought explicitly to typologize RLP ideology. One exception is Backes and Moreau (2008), who have a three-fold distinction between ‘Traditionalist’ Marxist–Leninist parties, ‘Reform’ communists who developed from traditionalist communist parties but have discarded Marxism-Leninism and the Soviet model and ‘red–green’ parties who supplement materialist concerns like economic equality with ‘new left’ issues such as ecology and feminism. This approach, however, suffers by focussing excessively on party origins and underestimating party change – for example, it makes little sense to characterize the German Left Party (Die Linke, LP), a merger of the former communist successor Party of Democratic Socialism with scions of the German Social Democratic Party, as in any way a ‘reform communist’ party. Accordingly, in the following chapters I will divide the radical left into four main sub-groups according to ideological position: communists, democratic socialists, populist socialists and social populists, while also further delineating them by degree of radicalism or extremism (relevant parties are tabulated in Table 1.2). As alluded to above, radical left parties accept democracy (verbally at least), although they combine this with (often vaguely defined) aspirations towards political reform and/or direct democracy and local participative democracy, including incorporating the rights of the excluded and marginalized (e.g. the unemployed, migrant workers) in the political system. Their anti-capitalism involves opposition to ‘neo-liberal’ globalized capitalism associated with the ‘Washington Consensus’, although they support a mixed market economy with private enterprise confined to services and small-medium enterprise. Extreme left parties in

Introduction 17 Table 1.3 Subtypes of relevant European RLPs Radical left Conservative Communist

Reform Communist

Democratic socialist

Populist socialist Social populistc

Extreme left Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Communist Party of Slovakia (KSS), Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), Socialist Party of Latvia (LSP), Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU), Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) (until 2003), Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM) (until 2005), French Com munist Party (PCF) (until 1994) Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM) (after 2005)b

Communist Party of Spain (PCE), French Communist Party (PCF) (after 1994), Party of Communist Refoundation (Italy) (PRC), Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) (after 2003), Party of Italian Communists (PdCI)a, Progressive Party of Working People (Cyprus) (AKEL), Sammarinese Communist Refoundation (RCS) Coalition of the Left of Movements Red–Green Alliance (Denmark) and Ecology (Greece) (SYN), (EL) (until c.2007) Estonian United Left Party (EÜVP), Left Alliance (Finland) (VAS), Left Bloc (Portugal) (BE), Left Party (Sweden) (V), Left–Green Movement (Iceland) (VG), Red–Green Alliance (Denmark) (EL) (after 2007), Socialist Left Party (Norway) (SV), Socialist Party (Netherlands) (SP) (after c.2008), Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU) (until c.2001), Socialist People’s Party (Denmark) (SF), The Left (Luxembourg) (LÉNK) Left Party (Germany) (LP), Respect New Anti–Capitalist Party (NPA) (UK)a, Scottish Socialist Party (France)a, Socialist Party (SSP), Socialist Party (Ireland)a (Netherlands) (SP) (until c.2008) Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) Association of Slovak Workers (ZRS), (until c.2000), Direction–Social Latvian Unity Party (LVP)*, Democracy (Slovakia) (SMER– Motherland (Russia)*, Progressive SD), Electoral Bloc Fatherland Socialist Party of Ukraine (PSPU), (Moldova) (BePR), Estonian Socialist Labour Party (Romania) United People’s Party (EÜRP)*, (PSM)*, Socialist Party Just Russia (SR), Labour Party of Serbia (SPS) (until 2008)

18

Introduction

Table 1.3 Continued Radical left

Extreme left

(Lithuania) (DP), Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Greece) (PASOK) (until c.1996), Party of Civic Understanding (Slovakia) (SOP)*, Romanian Social Democratic Party (PDSR/PSD) (until c.2000), Self–Defence (Poland), Sinn Féin (Ireland/N. Ireland), Socialist Party of Albania (PS) (until c.2000), Socialist People’s Party of Montenegro (SNP) (until c.2001) Notes * now defunct a not ‘relevant’ parties according to my definition, but mentioned in the text and included here for clarity b still classified as ‘extreme’ on the basis of ambiguous attitude to its past (see Chapter 4) c as noted in Chapter 6, the ‘radicalism’ and ‘extremism’ of social populist parties is both inconsistent and largely rhetorical.

contrast have a clearer ‘revolutionary’ self-ascription, espouse far greater hostility to liberal democracy, usually denounce all compromise with ‘bourgeois’ political forces including social democracy, emphasize extra-parliamentary struggle and define ‘anti-capitalism’ far more strictly, often regarding most market enterprise as anathema. The de-radicalization of left parties is evident in the marginality of the extreme left in most countries: this niche is usually occupied by tiny ‘revolutionary’ parties of Trotskyist or Maoist extraction. Moreover, as noted above, the degree of ‘extremism’ of those actors who regularly participate in the electoral process is questionable. The communists are themselves a broad group. Without Moscow’s pressure, ‘orthodox’ communism does not exist beyond a commitment to Marxism (of sorts), the communist name and symbols, and a nostalgic sense of the historical ‘movement’ among activists. ‘Conservative’ communists (so-called because they attempt to ‘conserve’ Soviet revolutionary traditions, despite the contradiction involved) certainly tend to define themselves as Marxist–Leninist, maintain a relatively uncritical stance towards the Soviet heritage, organize their parties through distinctive Leninist discipline (democratic centralism) and still see the world through the Cold War prism of ‘imperialism’, although even these parties have overlaid their Marxism-Leninism with appeals to nationalism and populism (above all in Greece and Russia). ‘Reform’ communists on the other hand are increasingly divergent and eclectic. They have discarded aspects of the Soviet model (e.g. Leninism and democratic centralism in Italy, France and the Czech Republic, significant opposition to the market economy in France, Cyprus and Moldova), and adopted, or at least given lip service to, elements of the post-1968 ‘new left’ agenda (feminism, environmentalism, grass-roots democracy etc.).

Introduction 19 Democratic socialist parties define themselves both in opposition to ‘totalitarian’ communism and ‘neo-liberal’ social democracy, advocating a non-dogmatic, and in many cases non-Marxist socialism, which emphasizes local participation and substantive democracy. This category is also a broad church, encompassing parties of varying degrees of radicalism. Some have a relatively ‘old left’ profile, including the Socialist Party of Ukraine (in the 1990s) that prioritizes traditional socioeconomic concerns. Some, such as the Finnish Left Alliance and Swedish Left Party, combine traditional economic issues with ‘new politics’ themes including support for alternative lifestyles and minorities (cf. Poguntke 1987). Others are more clearly still ‘new left’ parties (also known as left-libertarian parties) such as the parties in Iceland, Norway, and Denmark, who have most clearly articulated an ‘eco-socialist’ position’ that synthesizes economic, feminist and environmental critiques of capitalism (Kitschelt 1988). Populist socialist parties have a similar democratic-socialist ideological core, but this is overlaid with a stronger anti-elite, anti-establishment appeal, greater ideological eclecticism and emphasis on identity issues (especially regionalism, nationalism or law-and-order issues) rather than class or lifestyle concerns. I use populism in a value-neutral and non-pejorative way to denote an ideology arguing that a division between a morally pure people and corrupt elite is the key issue in politics (cf. Mudde 2004). So, populist parties are those that tend to define themselves against all other ‘mainstream’ or ‘establishment’ political parties, and see themselves as the only principled defenders of the ‘ordinary person’, relying heavily on emotional discourse and protest sentiment. They tend to be publicly (although not necessarily privately) more hostile to governmental collusion with the ‘corrupt’ elite than the democratic socialists. Social populist parties have the closest resemblance to classical populist movements (for example in Latin America), with a dominant personalist leadership, relatively weak organization and essentially incoherent ideology, fusing left-wing and right-wing themes behind an anti-establishment appeal. Other RLPs do not recognize these parties as ‘left wing’ – only a few are consistently anti-capitalist or even radical, and few are long-lived. Overall, they cannot be regarded as a stable or universally-recognised part of the radical left party family. Therefore I will not focus on them in detail. However, their pseudo-radicalism and pseudo-leftism are contributory factors in explaining why there is little electoral or issue space for genuine RLPs (communists excepted) in Eastern Europe, since they flourish in the relatively unstructured party systems there, where ‘left’ and ‘right’ are less clearly defined, and socio-economic distress is greater. The above categories are dynamic and overlapping: for example, since 1989 all RLPs have become more populist and even nationalist in terms of defining the ‘working class’ ever more broadly to reach beyond the traditional blue-collar strata, although, conversely, some of the traditionally more populist parties like the LP and SP (which is decreasingly an ‘anti-establishment’ party) appear to be jettisoning their populism as they approach national office. Moreover, because of the dominance of Realos, contemporary RLPs are less ideological and more pragmatic than in the Soviet era. There have been marked attempts to overcome

20

Introduction

the internecine doctrinal disputes and historical grievances that have periodically made radical socialists a laughing stock. Some success is obvious, particularly since old disputes between Stalinism, Trotskyism and Maoism have lost much of (although not all) their salience. The radical (although not always the extreme) left aims to concentrate on shorter term pragmatic solutions rather than endlessly debate the nature of socialism. Moreover, its increased national-populism has not replaced internationalist aims, except perhaps with some of the conservative communists, who espouse a Stalinist ‘socialism in one country’.

Book outline This book is by its nature not the definitive study of European RLPs. For instance, the pan-European focus necessarily implies a high degree of generality that will not necessarily satisfy country specialists. Moreover, the panoramic scope necessitates a reliance largely on secondary sources. But since many RLPs (symptomatically) rarely produce much literature outside their own language, I cannot encompass some interesting cases (e.g. the Icelandic VG) where detailed literature is absent and risk the pitfalls of retreading some well-trodden paths. In order to avoid simply a distant bird’s-eye view, each party chapter investigates three relevant RLPs, exploring their founding moments, ideological profile, electoral performance and their relative ‘success’ (electorally or otherwise). Parties are chosen by both practical (availability of relevant comprehensible literature) and academic criteria (providing cases which are maximally different in terms of ideology and electoral success). In several cases the choices were difficult. For example, I ultimately chose the Greek KKE rather than the Cypriot AKEL, in part because the KKE is more reflective of general trends, in part because I could find little English-language literature on AKEL when I began this study (fortunately, AKEL is now increasingly studied). Analysing parties via shared ‘party family’ characteristics, rather than through country case studies, despite its advantage in highlighting comparative themes, does have the drawback of introducing a certain unevenness into the forthcoming analysis. For instance, relevant CPs are still present across Europe, and therefore two chapters will be devoted to them, whereas relevant examples of other party subtypes (with the exception of the aforementioned social populist parties) are conspicuous by their absence in the East, and these subtypes are therefore granted just one chapter respectively. Overall, this apparently disproportionate focus on CPs reflects geographical and electoral reality. The focus on political parties is deliberate, since European politics is still party politics (e.g. Gallagher et al. 2005). However, developments in non-party organizations and subcultures are vital, particularly for parties with an aspiration to extra-parliamentary mobilization (Minkenberg 2003; cf. Mudde 2005). Therefore Chapters 7 and 8 concentrate on these aspects. Chapter 2 provides a historical/thematic overview of twentieth-century RLP development up to the collapse of communism in 1989–91. In particular, the chapter provides a comparative framework for understanding factors influencing both

Introduction 21 the success and decline of Western CPs that will be used in each of the following chapters to illustrate the dynamics now influencing contemporary RLP performance. It identifies demand-side factors (the external socio-economic ‘breeding ground’), external supply-side factors (political-institutional and party system factors) and internal supply-side factors (parties’ own strategies), arguing that those Soviet-era parties that managed most ideological flexibility and autonomy from Moscow were the most successful. The chapter further outlines the divergent patterns of transformation of European CPs, both East and West, since the 1980s and possible reasons for these divergent trajectories that will be examined further in coming chapters. Chapter 3 is the first of several party-case chapters, in this case focussing on three West European communists: the French Communist Party (PCF), Italian Party of Communist Refoundation (PRC or Rifondazione) and Greek Communist Party (KKE). Each of these (and particularly the former two) was an important actor prior to 1989, and each has struggled even partially to retain this status since. After discussing the various party reform trajectories available to CPs after 1989, the chapter shows how these parties took divergent strategies of partial reform, radical transformation (‘refoundation’) and non-reform respectively. Only the KKE’s policy of non-reform has preserved stability, whereas the other two cases have struggled with internal policy disputes, as well as external pressures which they have had little ability to influence, and which have put their long-term future in question, particularly Rifondazione, whose apparently successful trajectory was abruptly halted by electoral fiasco in 2008. Chapter 4 then turns to the East European communists, focussing on the Czech Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM), Party of the Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) and Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF). In general, the Eastern communists have been markedly more successful that the Western ones (albeit at a cost to other RLPs in the region) and the PCRM is arguably the most electorally successful European CP ever. Each party again has highly divergent strategies, belying the existence of any coherent core to contemporary communism. However, their success owes much to the Soviet legacy, and (the PCRM partially excepted) each party faces similar problems to their Western counterparts in terms of guaranteeing a long-term stability that is not over-dependent either on propitious external circumstances or the protest electorate, particularly as in many cases their membership and electorate is ageing rapidly. In Chapter 5, I analyse the democratic socialist parties. Since relevant parties of this category are absent in Eastern Europe, the main focus is on three West European cases, the Finnish Left Alliance (VAS), the Danish Socialist People’s Party (SF) and the Portuguese Left Bloc (BE or Bloco). I do analyse the weakness in Eastern Europe through the example of the Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU), which adopted a democratic socialist profile during its eventual transition to social democracy. A still pervasive anti-communist legacy, and strong international pressures towards rapid social-democratization are key factors in party de-radicalization in the East. All the examined parties have had to strike a

22

Introduction

careful balance between pressuring social democracy from the outside (guaranteeing influence but threatening ‘absorption’ by social democracy) and becoming protest parties trading on Euroscepticism and anti-establishment protest, which has short-term attractiveness but longer-term dangers. In Chapter 6, I examine the nature of European radical left populism. I concentrate on three West European populist socialist parties, the German LP, Dutch SP and Scottish Socialist Party (SSP). I then briefly examine the different forms of social populist parties prevalent in Eastern Europe, arguing that they have provided a significant obstacle to the growth of genuine RLPs there. Overall, leftpopulism is an increasingly attractive strategy for all RLPs, because it weakens the need for programmatic coherence, allows the adoption of non-standard identity issues, maintains a ‘radical’ profile, and allows populists to mount serious challenges to ‘establishment’ social democracy. However, in the longer run it may limit parties’ national influence, above all by increasing their dependence on volatile protest sentiments. Chapter 7 examines RLPs’ contemporary international activity. Though we are seeing nothing like a new International, this activity is becoming increasingly consolidated, particularly around the GUE/NGL group in the EP and Party of the European Left. Policy convergence is evident, and although divisions are still rife, this is the clearest evidence that RLPs are approaching a coherent ‘party family’ with a broadly cohesive international strategic and ideological outlook. Paradoxically, both scepticism towards the EU, and exploitation of the opportunities it offers have become major consolidating factors in the radical left internationally. Chapter 8 focuses on RLP activity through non-party organizations and subcultures, particularly through the ‘new fringe’ of social movements and the GJM. This sphere is a microcosm of the problems and opportunities for these parties documented elsewhere in the book. RLP links with long-standing affiliated organizations (such as trade unions, front organizations and youth groups) are now very much attenuated. However, the broader networks and subcultures associated with the GJM offer a reinvigorated radicalism and internationalism that has provoked the most widely realized global challenge to the political establishment, albeit this challenge remains very diffuse and divided. Chapter 9 uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches to investigate in depth whether the factors introduced in Chapter 2 help explain contemporary RLP success. It answers in the affirmative, showing that the demandside and external supply-sides in contemporary Europe are largely favourable for the emergence of successful RLPs. However, a recap of the book’s case-studies shows that internal supply-side factors (parties’ own strategies) are of most importance in explaining how parties survive and persist. The most successful parties are generally pragmatic, non-ideological, internally cohesive and have leaders able to exploit political opportunities. Overall, I argue that the radical left is an increasingly consolidated actor on the EU political scene and one of the major challenges to contemporary social democracy, even though its absence in specific countries and in much of former

Introduction 23 communist Eastern Europe will significantly check its future growth. In an earlier work, it was argued that RLPs were in ‘decline and mutation’ (March and Mudde 2005). Although in many cases the decline has paused, it is still true that the main RLPs are afflicted by existential crises about the nature of ‘socialism’, and the future of the communists in particular is by no means assured. Moreover, successful strategies are still evolving. The most successful parties are no longer extreme, but present themselves as defending values and policies that social democrats have allegedly abandoned. Moreover, a democratic socialist/eco-socialist strategy that emphasizes post-materialist concerns and a populist strategy focussing on anti-elite mobilization have been the most propitious ways of increasing RLPs’ post-communist identity and medium-term viability. The contemporary socioeconomic and political situation within Europe will likely prove beneficial to the fortunes of populist parties in particular (although these parties have historically tended towards rapid fragmentation). Nevertheless, despite their fortunes ceasing to ebb, there is little immediate prospect of radical left parties turning the tide and retaining the hegemony over European radicalism they lastingly lost in the late 1960s.

2

From communist crisis to post-communist mutation

The major contemporary radical left parties are not new parties – at least compared with Green and radical right parties that have proliferated in European party systems since the early 1980s. Most (above all the communists) have an explicit link to historical parties either in name (e.g. the French Communist Party), leadership cadres (e.g. Pierre Laurent, current PCF national secretary, is the son of former Central Committee member Paul Laurent, who joined the party in 1945), or otherwise in symbols and ideology. As we shall see in coming chapters, even those parties appearing as if from nothing (e.g. the Dutch and Scottish Socialists, German LP) are amalgamations of pre-existing micro-parties and party tendencies where their contemporary leadership played significant roles: most obviously, LP leaders Oskar Lafontaine and Gregor Gysi had been, respectively, a key leader of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) leadership and a member of the pro-Gorbachev wing of the East German ruling Socialist Unity Party (SED). This longer heritage means that a study of the nature of these parties cannot begin in 1990. This is particularly the case since even prior to the fall of ‘really existing socialism’, which was widely perceived to have destroyed at a stroke the legitimacy not just of communism but of socialism tout court, European CPs were perceived to be succumbing to a persistent, debilitating and increasingly insurmountable crisis. This crisis received ample academic attention (e.g. Lazar 1988; Waller 1989), but the process of transformation of apparently historically doomed Soviet-era organizations into minimally viable parties 20 years later has been less studied, except in Eastern Europe via the aforementioned literature analysing the transformation of ‘successor parties’ – that is, those that inherit the preponderance of former ruling CPs’ political resources. The only published source to analyse party transformation in Western Europe (Botella and Ramiro 2003) makes no reference to this literature, or the parties of Eastern Europe.1 Accordingly, this chapter provides an overview of the patterns of transformation of European CPs, East and West. First, I outline criteria for evaluating how parties change. Second, I review the main dynamics of CP success in the twentieth century and the causes of their crisis and decline. Next, I outline the main trajectories of adaptation undertaken by parties since the 1980s and possible reasons for these divergent trajectories that will be examined further in coming chapters.

From crisis to mutation

25

Arguably, the communist crisis in the twentieth century contains lessons for overcoming it in the twenty-first; that is, irrespective of the particular strategies RLPs take, the most successful have traditionally been those which adapt ideology and practice to national and local environments rather than mechanistically implementing a theoretical blueprint. Therefore the demise of the Soviet Union, rather than denoting the inevitable death-knell for the radical left, offers increased scope for nationally authentic left-wing politics free from the taint of Stalinism, especially when the renaissance of autonomous radicalisms evident from the 1960s onwards is considered.

What explains RLP success? Measuring party success is not straightforward. The apparently obvious criterion (winning elections) is problematic since not every party actually aspires to do this. As argued by Kaare Strøm (1990; Müller and Strøm 1999), parties articulate different goals. The ideal-typical goals are ‘policy, office, or votes’, of which winning elections (the ‘votes’ goal) for its own sake is sometimes the least important.2 A ‘policy’ goal involves implementing internal ideological or identity aims on the public policy agenda in the most direct and consistent way; an ‘office-seeking’ goal implies the aim of attaining and maximizing political power (e.g. by gaining governmental portfolios or coalition bargaining potential). Neither of these strategies necessarily entails maximizing the party’s electoral performance, although clearly these goals can overlap. Although the balance of goals is subject to intraparty contestation, normally parties will articulate an overriding ‘primary goal’ (Harmel and Janda 1994). As argued by Rose and Mackie (1988: 534–5), a basic precondition for party success is simply persistence over time. Yet even persistence is not assured because it involves a constant trade-off between a party’s ‘introverted’ internal goals (those necessary to maintain cohesion as an organization, including debating and publicizing its ‘primary goals’) and ‘extroverted’ external goals (responding to the larger political environment which the party itself cannot control). I now briefly summarize some of the factors that impact on party success in general. Following Rose and Mackie we can make a basic distinction between external and internal opportunity structures (cf. Kitschelt 1986; Olsen et al. 2010). Furthermore, the literature on radical right parties has delineated demand-side factors (the external socio-economic ‘breeding ground’ for parties), external supply-side factors (political-institutional and party system factors) and internal supply-side factors (parties’ own strategies) (e.g. Norris 2005; Mudde 2007). The literature on communist parties has generally focussed on case studies rather than comparative generalizations (the major exception being Tannahill 1978). Nevertheless, these categories will prove useful both to analyse the twentieth-century CPs (this chapter) and contemporary RLPs (throughout the book and particularly in Chapter 9).

26

From crisis to mutation

External factors Demand-side factors Broadly speaking, history and political culture affect the salience of certain issues in the electorate – they provide exploitable issues that become the ‘breeding ground’ for certain parties and thereby affect the party system. For example, countries with deep social cleavages and ideological divisions are said to provide the ideal terrain for radical parties, be they left, right or populist (e.g. Sartori 1976; Ignazi 1992; Abedi 2004). Parties in turn can solidify these divisions. Also salient are the economic issues of the day. The proposition that economic conditions shape electoral outcomes is supported by numerous empirical studies of systematic connections between voting and the macro-economy (Lewis-Beck and Paldam 2000). The literature on retrospective voting regards elections as referenda on a government’s past performance (Ferejohn 1986). One might expect that RLPs’ emphases on economic and job-security issues might find resonance in countries with poorer socio-economic conditions in general and poorly performing governments in particular. External supply-side factors Such factors include the nature of electoral competition and the effect of political institutions. A wide range of factors impact on the party system. Given that social democratic parties’ electorate overlaps with RLPs, social democrats’ conduct will strongly influence that of the communists (e.g. Cox 1987). For instance, a strong social democratic party may reduce communists’ opportunities for office-seeking and increase their propensity to staking out niche policy-seeking positions in order to protect their electorate; conversely, weak social democratic competition implies more policy flexibility, office and vote possibilities for the communists. The role of political institutions is to shape voters’ and party preferences. At most, such institutions can constrain and hinder parties (particularly small ones), at the least they can shape their incentives and decision-making. For instance, powerful parliaments and PR electoral systems are more ‘permissive’ (provide a broader political space) for new parties and political oppositions than more ‘restrictive’ presidential regimes and majoritarian systems (e.g. Grofman and Lijphart 1986). In the former, we might expect parties to have greater opportunity to develop policy seeking goals, in the latter office-seeking may be a survival strategy. Similarly, elements of federalism or devolution are said to help antiestablishment parties, particularly new ones, articulate their concerns and build momentum from local to national level (Müller-Rommel 1998). ‘External shocks’ Parties are conservative organizations; the goal of organizational stability means they usually resist change unless forced (Harmel and Janda 1994). The most

From crisis to mutation

27

common external shocks are obviously electoral; even a party that does not prioritize vote-seeking may need to re-evaluate this if its electoral performance threatens its ability (reputational, financial or otherwise) to carry out its primary goal, and can often lead to a change in that goal. As Olsen et al. argue (2010) ‘electoral success shocks’ can occur when a party does better than expected: this may be a particular threat to Fundi parties for whom the compromises of government are unwelcome. As we shall see, the abrupt zigzags of Moscow’s policy line marked some of the biggest external jolts for twentieth-century CPs, and the collapse of communism was the mother of all.

Internal supply-side factors There are a number of internal factors that affect a party’s ability to respond to its environment. For instance, party origins (leadership, organizational control and institutional development) can exert influence even decades afterwards on its internal political culture and goals (e.g. Panebianco 1988). Other key critical junctures in a party’s development (e.g. how it responds to the sudden death of a leader) may also have a path-dependent effect long after the juncture has been crossed. Indeed, analysts see leadership change (and how this effects the balance of party factions) as critical in the evolution of parties’ primary goals (e.g. Harmel et al. 1995). Moreover, the intra-party power balance (relationship between leadership and activists, intra-party factions and party organizational rules) affects how much leeway a party leadership can devote to extroverted rather than introverted goals. For instance a cohesive party leadership in a centralized party may institutionalize the party (i.e. further its electoral and organizational stability) and help it adapt to the external environment (Szczerbiak 2004). However, too powerful a leadership may prioritize extroverted goals to the detriment of party survival – the archetypal example being parties struggling to outlive the departure of a dominant ‘charismatic’ leader (Panebianco 1988). On the other hand, an excessively decentralized party may be prone to factionalism and policy drift that leaves it unable to respond to the external environment, or even formulate a clear ‘primary goal’ (Lewis 2000). However, perhaps of most relevance to twentieth-century CPs were the inexorably intertwined roles of ideology and party goal. ‘Better fewer but better’ said Lenin, that is, small, ideologically pure parties were preferable to larger, revisionist ones (cf. McInnes 1975: 5). Following this dictum, most CPs were policyseeking, introverted parties par excellence. To rephrase the revisionist Marxist Eduard Bernstein, the ultimate aim of socialism was everything, but the movement was nothing: communists’ principal compass was the long-term goal of building international communism rather than the short-term exigencies of the national environment. As a result, they often behaved very differently from their party competitors, disparaging seeking office or electoral success in ‘bourgeois’ society. In practice, combining the ‘teleological’ (universal revolutionary) and

28

From crisis to mutation

‘societal’ (national reformist) goals was the key problem for CPs that few resolved successfully (Courtois and Lazar 1995: 17–18).

European communism: explaining rise and fall The above-mentioned criteria help clarify the sources of both communist support and crisis: Demand-side There were strong historical political-cultural dynamics to the rise of communism. Even in the 1980s many communist ‘red belts’ (electoral strongholds such as Bologna in Italy, central France, north-east Finland) were areas with pre-1917 radical, anti-clerical and (especially) socialist traditions (McInnes 1975) Unsurprisingly so, since in many cases communists emerged as scions of existing social democratic parties. Tannahill (1978: 113) argues that the idealtypical electoral landscape for communists involved strong clerical/anti-clerical, ethnic, regional or class cleavages. Although such cleavages did not necessitate a strong CP (e.g. Austria), nor their absence prevent one (e.g. Iceland), this works as a general rule. Particularly if states had a long tradition of liberal constitutionalism and inter-class consensus as in north-central Europe (especially Scandinavia, Britain, and to an extent Benelux and Germany) this favoured social democratic parties promoting a gradualist strategy (Anderson and Camiller 1994). For most of the twentieth century, such states remained a social democratic ‘core’ marked by large social democratic parties, strong trade unions and small farmers’ classes, where CPs remained minor (Eley 2002: 65 and see Tables 2.1 and 2.2). Conversely, lasting socio-economic and ideological cleavages and political polarization in countries such as France and Italy helped sustain the strongest CPs (Greene 1973). Bartolini (2000) agrees that CPs mainly emerged where there was high class polarization and weak encapsulation of traditional social groups (especially trade unions) by existing parties. Alone among Nordic countries, Finland sustained a strong CP, in part owing to polarization following its exposure (as part of Russia) to revolutions and civil war.3 Generally, south and east European countries with less experience of liberal constitutionalism were more exposed to authoritarianism and anarcho-syndicalism before World War One, and their socialism was more radical thereafter. For instance, social democracy was weaker and communism stronger in the most impoverished sections of the former Ottoman Empire such as Yugoslavia, Greece, and especially Bulgaria, where the dominant faction in the Social Democratic Labour Party renamed it the Communist Party and gained 20 per cent of the vote in March 1920 (Table 2.1). However, in south-eastern Europe the left as a whole remained marginalized in the interwar years by agrarian socio-economic structure and poorly developed industry and was structurally weak compared with the right – a tendency reinforced by the renewed spread of authoritarianism across the whole continent from

1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1939 1940

1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932

1921 1922 1923 1924

1918 1919 1920

0.6

0.4

0.7

0.9

5.4

6.1

2.8

1.9

1.6

0.0

Austria Belgium

5.9*

7.0*

12.7b

2.5a

20.31

18.2 20.2

Bulgaria

10.3

10.2

13.2

Czechoslovakia

0.9

0.8

0.6

0.7

0.4

0.5

(1) 0.4 (2) 0.3 (3) 0.4

Denmark

15.3

8.3

11.3

9.8

France

Table 2.1 Percentage of national parliamentary vote for communist parties, 1918–1940

(1) 14.5 (2) 16.9 12.3

13.1

10.6

(1) 12.6 (2) 8.9

2.1

0.1

0.3

0.2

0.2 0.2 0.3

Germany Great Britain

9.9 5.7

5 4.6

c. 1

c. 4

2.3

Greece

(Continued)

8.4

7.5 6.0

3.0

Iceland

4.6

6.4

1.3

Luxembourg

3.4

3.2

2.0

1.2

1.8

2.3

Netherlands

0.3

1.8

1.7

6.1 4.0

Norway

Notes a as Labour Party (communist front) b in alliance with Peasant Union c as part of Popular Front d as Independent Labour (communist front) * percentage of seats gained (vote percentage not available).

Source: von Beyme (1985: 102), Tannahill (1978); Rothschild (1974).

1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1939 1940

Italy

Table 2.1 Continued

2.3

2.3

1.4

Poland

1.3*

Romania

(47)c

2.4

4.4

Spain

3.5

3.3

3.0

6.4

3.6

4.6

Sweden

2.6

1.4

1.5

1.8

2.0

1.8

Switzerland

1.9d

0.6d

1.1d

12.4

Yugoslavia

KPÖ: Communist Party of Austria PC: Communist Party AKEL: Progressive Party of Working People DKP: Communist Party of Denmark SKP: Finnish Communist Party PCF: French Communist Party KPD/DKP: Communist Party of Germany/ German Communist Party KKE: Communist Party of Greece AB: Peoples’ Alliance PCI: Italian Communist Party KPL: Communist Party of Luxembourg CPN: Communist Party of Netherlands NKP: Norwegian Communist Party. PCP: Portuguese Communist Party PCS: Sammarinese Communist Party

Austria Belgium Cyprus

Greece Iceland Italy Luxembourg Netherlands Norway Portugal San Marino

Denmark Finland France West Germany

Party

Country

— 19.5 31.0 8.0 9.2 8.9 — —

9.7 21.8 26.8 5.7

5.3 10.1 —

1940s

14.9 16.7 22.7 11.6 4.5 4.3 — —

4.2 22.1 24.0 2.2

4.3 3.4 —

1950s

13.6 16.8 26.1 14.0 3.2 1.8 — 22.7

1.0 21.6 21.4 1.3

1.7 3.7 35.0

1960s

Table 2.2 Average West European communist party electoral performance, 1945–1989

9.7 19.5 30.6 8.1 3.4 0.4 15.3 24.8

3.0 17.6 21.0 0.3

1.2 3.1 39.8

1970s

11.2 15.4 28.3 5.1 1.5 0.3 13.1 26.6

0.9 13.5 12.4 0.2

0.7 1.4 30.1

1980s

12.2 17.7 27.7 9.6 4.1 3.2 14.0 24.7

3.1 18.5 21.1 1.4

2.5 3.9 33.8

Average 1945–1989

(Continued)

24.4 (1958)d 22.9 (1978)e 34.4 (1976) 16.9 (1951) 10.6 (1946) 11.9 (1945) 18.9 (1975)f 28.7 (1988)g

12.5 (1945) 23.5 (1945)b 28.2 (1946) 5.7 (1949)c

5.4 (1945) 12.7 (1946) 39.8 (1970)a

Peak

VPK: Lef Party – Communists Communist Party of Spain PdA: Labour Party CPGB: Communist Party of Great Britain

6.3 — 5.1 0.4

4.2 — 2.7 0.2

4.2 — 2.6 0.2

5.1 10.1 2.4 0.1

5.6 5.9 0.9 0.0

4.9 7.6 2.5 0.1

6.3 (1948)h 10.8 (1979)i 5.1 (1947) 0.4 (1945)

Notes a Cyprus received independence in 1960 b in coalition as Finnish People’s Democratic League (SKDL); in 1987 as SKDL/Democratic Alternative (DEVA) c as Communist Party of Germany (KPD) from 1949–1953; as German Peace Union (DFU/ADF) from 1961–9: as German Communist Party (DKP) from 1972–83 d KKE banned until 1974 but competed until 1974 as United Democratic Left (EDA); in coalition in 1974 (as Pan–democratic Agrarian Front of Greece) and in 1989 e People’s Alliance was Socialist Party before 1956 f PCP banned until 1975; 1975–6 as Portuguese Communist Party, PCP; 1979–85 as United People’s Union (APU), from 1987 as United Democratic Coalition (CDU) g data absent for 1940s and 1950s h before 1967 known as the Communist Party of Sweden (SKP) i PCE banned until 1977; from 1986 as United Left (IU).

Source: www.parties–and–elections.de, http://www.election.demon.co.uk/ (accessed 12 April 2011).

Sweden Spain Switzerland United Kingdom

Table 2.2 Continued

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the mid-1920s (Anderson and Camiller 1994; Gerrits 2002). Conversely, the more industrial, richer countries of east-central Europe were heavily influenced by the German SPD (such as Poland, the Czech lands and Hungary). They were closer to the social democratic core, and here social democracy remained stronger than communism (Gerrits 2002: 66). External supply-side: the party system Relations with social democrats were habitually the critical party system relationship for CPs. Indeed, the continued coexistence of social democrats and communists was not positive-sum: both were competing for a similar working-class electorate, and their parties divided left electoral strength rather than doubled it (Przeworski and Sprague 1986). As Tannahill puts it (1978: 123): ‘where Socialism is weak, Communism is weak . . . where Communism is moderately strong, Socialism is moderately strong . . . where Socialism is very strong, Communism is weak.’ Relations with social democrats were nowhere more critical for future communist development than at the CP’s origin. If communists emerged as splits from the main social democratic party and appropriated significant organizational capital (membership, trade union support or regional party organizations) this helped them seriously challenge social democracy (Greene 1973). The prime example was the Communist Party of Germany (KPD), founded by members of the SPD’s left wing, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. Helped by the crisis of the Weimar Republic, the KPD became the largest West European CP in the early 1930s. At its peak in the Reichstag election of 6 November 1932 it gained nearly six million votes (16.9 per cent), trailing the SPD by just 3.5 percent. In France also the majority of the French Section of the Socialist International (SFIO) affiliated with the Communist International (Comintern) and the resultant PCF retained many SFIO members, along with the main socialist publication L’Humanité. Similarly, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia emerged from a split in the Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party as a mass party with links to a strong workers movement, becoming Eastern Europe’s most successful in the interwar period (Westoby 1981). Conversely, the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) was not a split from the main social democratic party (the Labour Party). It emerged in 1920 as a merger of several smaller Marxist groupuscules to the left of Labour. Despite an influential press and influence over the trade union movement, the CPGB failed to undermine Labour’s hold over the working class, and remained one of Europe’s least electorally successful parties. Renton and Eaden (2002) argue that the CPGB was created prematurely: had it first organized within the Labour Party, it might have fared better in the 1930s after the conservative climate of the 1920s had subsided. Instead, it was formed from a number of sectarian groups who proved unable to work well with the trade unions and Labour socialists. Clearly, the policies of larger social democratic parties continued heavily to influence the communists for good or ill. For instance, Labour’s repeated rejection

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of the CPGB’s affiliation efforts (for the final time in 1946) denied it an organizational foothold within the party. Similarly, the German SPD was famous for its staunch anti-communist stance, traceable both to the forced merger of its Eastern branch into the SED in 1946 and even to the origins of the KPD in 1918 (Berger 1995). On the other hand, the Swedish Left Party – Communists (VPK) was the recipient of the so-called ‘comrade vote’ in the 1970s to 1990s, as social democrat votes helped it over the four per cent electoral barrier in order to ensure a left-wing parliamentary majority (Arter 1991). An additional political barrier was provided by the political and social repression of CPs and their members, who were often regarded as political outcasts in the West. In the interwar period, this occurred above all in authoritarian southern and south-eastern Europe where socialists in general were marginalized ‘to vegetate on the margins of political life’ (Gerrits 2002: 72) without necessarily being banned. Communist parties however were progressively banned across Europe (as in Yugoslavia in 1921, Hungary in 1922, Italy in 1926 and Germany in 1933). This accounts for many obvious absences in Table 2.1. In post-World War Two Western Europe, the onset of the Cold War changed communists’ status radically once more. From defenders of the nation in the immediate war aftermath, they became in the eyes of the West (as before the war) the Soviet Union’s ‘fifth column’ (e.g. Tannahill 1978; Lange and Vannicelli 1981). It is doubtful whether Stalin initially sought to thoroughly Bolshevize the Soviet-occupied territories (e.g. Thompson 1998: 33–4: Priestland 2009: 220–7). Nevertheless, mistrust of his intentions contributed to the rise of anti-communism in the West, and CPs became pariahs, expelled from popular front governments in 1947, often with covert US pressure In the longer run, covert and overt efforts were made to keep communists from power. This was most notable in Italy, where an unofficial conventio ad excludendum (agreement to exclude) kept the Christian Democrats in government and the Italian Communist Party (PCI) out. Communist participation was unacceptable both to non-communist parties and to the US, which remained heavily involved in Italian domestic politics after World War Two (e.g. Ginsborg 2003). Elsewhere in Western Europe, anti-communism was used to justify repression against communists. For example, in the 1950s, Communist Party of the Netherlands (CPN) members and newspapers were harassed, its MPs were isolated in parliament, and communist intellectuals were reputedly discriminated against in universities (de Vries 2003). In West Germany, over 6,000 communists were tried for treason or subversion between 1951 and 1966. The prohibition and persecution of the KPD allegedly ‘served to prove West German loyalty to the Western alliance . . . to legitimize the political system of the Federal Republic in general and the hegemony of the Christian Democratic party in particular’ (Lucardie 1988: 194). Who then supported the communists? The membership was a policy seeking constituency par excellence – many were ideologically committed to communism as a quasi-religious faith. This membership was predominately male and working class (especially in smaller parties), and prone to fluctuation. There was no typical communist electorate however. Even the strongest communists were only

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ever working-class parties (most, but not all, voters being working class) rather than parties of the working class (only a minority of the working class ever supported them) (Moschonas 2002: 50). For example, around one-third of the working class supported the Finnish and Italian communists (Tannahill 1978: 110). In many areas though, party support was based on clientelistic rather than ideological motives: the party provided local communities with a wide variety of ‘womb to tomb’ material and psychological services, forming stable ‘eco-systems’ or ‘counter-societies’ where party and local community were inextricably linked (Kriegel 1972) – the party was simply perceived as the best local provider, in the same way that social or Christian democrats were elsewhere. In addition, protest voting helps explain how communist support fluctuated between elections. Their exclusion from the governing elite and their anti-bourgeois ‘anti-system’ stance allowed communists to develop a ‘tribune function’, representing those disaffected either with discrete issues such as unemployment or with the political system as a whole (Tannahill 1978: 185). Such protest voting magnified communist support in the red belts and helps explain its depth in areas such as French départements like Creuze and Corrèze in the early 1950s. However, after the late 1960s this electoral support base began to fragment, owing to structural and cultural changes in the West European demand-side, causing the communists major problems of adaptation. The onset of post-industrialism was especially challenging for parties that had prioritized penetration of mining, heavy industry, railway and certain farming sectors – strata which now appeared ‘historically doomed’ to crisis and decline (Bell 1993; Botella and Ramiro 2003). This decline in core domestic constituencies was one of the major factors driving the electoral, intellectual and membership decline of Western CPs that produced a full-blown crisis of ideology and organization in the 1980s. Simultaneously, Western CPs proved unable to adapt to the ‘silent revolution’ of ‘new politics’ – post-materialist social, cultural and electoral issues evident in particular after the unrest of the late 1960s (Inglehart 1977; Sassoon 1997). New social sectors were less interested in basic, quantitative ‘material’ needs and traditional class solidarities and prioritized qualitative ‘lifestyle’ or ‘identity’ issues, such as individualism and environmentalism. Many of the new strata saw the communists, with their industrial-era identity and hierarchical organizations, as profound obstacles to radical social change. In particular, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, French student leader in the 1968 protests in France, branded the PCF ‘Stalinist creeps’ (les crapules staliniennes) for being dogmatic, bureaucratic, integrated in the capitalist system and ‘basically senile’ (Munck 2007: 25). The most visible and lasting challenge to the communists was the emergence, from the 1950s onwards, of a diverse libertarian ‘new left’ anti-establishment and extra-parliamentary politics based on ‘direct action, community organizing, ideals of participation, smaller-scale nonbureaucratic forms, the stress on grassroots, the bringing of politics down to everyday life’ (Eley 2002: 364). The new left claimed both better to represent the new politics and challenged communist hegemony over their traditional supporters. Only rarely were these tendencies able to

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From crisis to mutation

supplant the traditional CPs, and indeed, several parties were able to temporarily co-opt them by adopting feminism, ecologism and pacifism, gaining a new influx of supporters in the early 1970s that postponed (but did not arrest) their eventual crisis by as much as a decade (Waller 1989). Indeed only in Scandinavia, where Marxism had developed humanist and quasi-Eurocommunist (see below) tendencies since the 1920s did the new left effectively marginalize CPs (Gilberg 1980; Hermansson 1988). The archetypal example was when the leader of the Communist Party of Denmark (DKP), Aksel Larsen, was expelled in 1956 after condemning the Soviet invasion of Hungary. He founded the Socialist People’s Party (SF) in 1958–9 on positions of popular socialism (Folkesocialisme), a ‘third way’ between communism and social democracy that broke with Moscow’s diktat, emphasized national roots of socialism and (gradually) environmentalism and feminism. The SF lastingly marginalized the DKP in 1960, in part due to Larsen’s high personal popularity. Similar new left parties established themselves in the Nordic countries, although the Swedish and Icelandic communists were able to absorb these. However, all CPs suffered an existential challenge from a diverse range of parties using Marxism as an ‘ideological pabulum’ for a range of often unconnected interests and aspirations (Kolakowski 1978). Internally, new members feminized and de-proletarianized parties’ social bases and introduced a movement-type aversion to leadership within their organizations, leading to party splits. Externally, parties confronted a plethora of newer radical, revolutionary, and in the case of the Red Brigades of Italy and Red Army Faction of Germany, terrorist challengers. Most lastingly damaging of these challengers were Maoists and Trotskyists, both of whom claimed to be alternative Marxist-Leninist traditions purged of some of the deviations of ‘really existing socialism’, and both directly inspired the foundation of numerous groupuscules across several countries. Maoism reached its apogee in the late 1960s as China’s emerging regional and global power appeared to offer an alternative model of international communism, which many (mistakenly) believed was a participative non-hierarchical form of communism shorn of Stalinist excesses (Thompson 1997). Maoism gained purchase on several smaller CPs (principally in Scandinavia, Belgium and the Netherlands) in the late 1960s. However, it had no lasting electoral strength either in Western or Eastern Europe (apart from in Albania, where the ruling Albanian Party of Labour had already split from Moscow). Neither Mao himself nor the Chinese Communist Party ever seriously tried to establish a Maoist Comintern and after Mao’s death in 1976, especially as relations with the US warmed, China dissociated itself from International Maoism (Alexander 2001). Trotskyism offered a more serious ideological challenge to CPs. Although unlike Maoism it lacked the virtue of being (even partially) backed by a powerful state, it possessed a more sophisticated ideological core, a longer intellectual tradition, a devastating and insightful critique of Stalinism and an iconic founder who was Lenin’s intellectual equal and (as one of his comrades) could share in the reflected glory of October 1917. By 1950, splits since Trotsky’s death in 1940 meant that Trotskyism was all but dead, but it the 1960s it re-emerged as a powerful critique

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37

of bureaucratic ‘Stalinist’ CPs and a romanticized return to Leninism’s revolutionary possibilities (Alexander 1991; Thompson 1997). The late 1960s and early 1970s saw a profusion of Trotskyist groupuscules re-emerge within and outside communist and social democratic parties alike, with particular influence among students and trade unions, since they were keen exponents of Leninist ‘entrism’ (the tactic of infiltration with the aim of influencing policies, gaining members, or complete takeover of ‘host’ organizations). Trotskyism was only lastingly successful in two European countries, the UK and France. In the UK, the non-standard Militant Tendency maintained a policy of ‘deep entrism’ whereby it ‘incubated’ within the Labour Party ‘host’ for over thirty years and, in the 1970s and 1980s, built up a sustained strength in the Labour Youth League and constituency parties (Crick 1984; Callaghan 1987). The UK Socialist Workers Party (SWP) created several successful front organizations, notably the Anti-Nazi League (1977–1981) that grew into a large campaigning movement alongside ‘Rock Against Racism’. Altogether, the CPGB’s inattention to alliance possibilities with the ‘despised “Trots”’ contributed to its own marginalization (Renton and Eaden 2002: 167). In France, Trotskyism was able to capitalize on long-standing revolutionary traditions and a strong dissident movement within the PCF, which underwent a particularly convulsive process of Bolshevization in the late 1920s and early 1930s (whereby the imposition of the ‘correct party line’ and personnel purges fostered ideologically pure and loyal parties). Trotsky (who had lived in France prior to 1917) cultivated ties with French communists and was particularly assiduous in building up support within France (Alexander 1991). With France the epicentre of European radicalism in the 1960s and the PCF seen as so immobiliste, the stage was set for the re-emergence of three (relatively strong) French Trotskyist parties in the 1970s, which increasingly challenged the PCF from the left (as illustrated in the forthcoming chapter). Elsewhere, Trotskyist parties have been far less relevant, except at local level (generally in parts of larger cities), even when they contest elections (many such as the SWP have been consistently opposed to independent electoral participation). Trotskyism is an ‘embalmed Leninism’, focused almost obsessively on arcane theoretical disputes and denied natural development by the early death of its founder (Thompson 1997: 172). Doctrinal rigidity, sect-like insularity, political oppression and high-membership turnover have contributed to political marginality and continual cell division. This was accurately parodied by the 1979 film Monty Python’s The Life of Brian’s portrayal of the sectarian instincts of the (fictional) ‘People’s Front of Judea’: most countries have (at least) three main Trotskyist parties and Internationals. However, CPs also faced other threats. In particular, the radical environmentalist politics represented by the Greens contributed directly to the demise of (already small) CPs in West Germany and Belgium (Waller 1989). Although initially the Greens saw themselves as ‘neither right, nor left but ahead’ and there is still an ideological and strategic distinction between ‘red-greens’ (such as the German Die Grünen), and ‘green-greens’ (such as the French Les Verts), Green parties can be placed on the libertarian/new left owing to the egalitarianism of their ideology, the

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self-placement of their supporters and their alliances with other parties of the left (Kitschelt 1989; Richardson and Rootes 1995). Green parties as parties can now no longer be considered radical – in the late 1980s and 1990s they went through a profound period of de-radicalization as the Realos won internal party struggles and transformed their parties into moderate left-wing parties: capitalism and (liberal) democracy were broadly accepted, party organizations became hierarchical, and electoral strategies became dominant (Burchell 2001; Müller-Rommel & Poguntke 2002). Nevertheless, activists in environmental movements continue to be more militant (Doherty 2002), while many Green parties (for example the Dutch GroenLinks (GreenLeft) and British Green Party) continue to contain ecosocialist constituencies that criticize other environmentalists for their lack of systematic opposition to capitalism – seen as the ultimate source of environmental damage. Overall, Green parties remain strong competitors for RLP support among the white-collar electorate. Nor were the CPs immune from a challenge from the right, which has always been able to draw votes from the working class (Tannahill 1978). The aforementioned modernization crisis has provided great opportunities for new anti-establishment parties. The new left and Greens have gained but the principal beneficiaries have been populist right parties able to articulate ‘welfare chauvinism’ – a ‘social’ defence of the welfare state against ‘outsiders’ (Mudde 2007: 130–1). One of the first indications of this was the phenomenon of gaucho-lepénistes, PCF voters who defected to the extreme right Jean-Marie Le Pen as the PCF increasing lost its traditional ‘tribune function’ (e.g. Perrineau 1997; Mayer 1999). External supply-side: political institutions Broadly speaking, the political-institutional framework promoted or hindered opportunities for CPs, but cannot be seen as determining their success. Most European political systems have been proportional systems or mixed systems with a dominant role for proportionality, but far from all of them ever had a strong CP (Gallagher et al. 2005; Mudde 2007). Similarly, the most successful CPs (e.g. Italy, France, Finland), were in unitary rather than federal systems, although they also occasionally performed well in federal and devolved systems (Belgium and Spain). Examples of electoral systems mattering include the UK’s first-past-the-post electoral system, which penalized the CPGB (as it has done all minor parties). However, the Greens and extreme right have latterly performed better than RLPs in UK local and European elections, irrespective of electoral system, indicating that other factors are also at play (for example, the tradition of ‘entrism’ within the Labour Party has led the UK radical left to neglect pragmatic electoral strategies). Also significant was the French electoral system – a two-round majority system at presidential and parliamentary elections after 1958 gave mixed incentives to the PCF. On one hand it was (deliberately) successful at ghettoizing the communists, who could never hope to get into the presidential second round and were

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forced to back the socialists (Lange 1977). On the other hand, this forced cooperation could empower the PCF, as the Socialists needed communist support in the second round and could therefore not ignore or isolate them. But when this cooperation failed, the PCF could be heavily penalized (as in 1958 when 19.2 per cent of the vote translated into just 10 of 475 seats in the Assemblée Nationale). The Italian PR system also provided (different) mixed incentives to the PCI. On one hand, the PCI could parlay its vote into a considerable parliamentary weight (at most 227 out of 630 in the Camera dei deputati in 1976). On the other, it prevented stable alliances with the Italian socialists emerging, since each party had incentives to accentuate their differences and maximize their vote during elections (Sassoon 1997: 572–4). Moreover, the PCI’s seat share meant that it was close, but never close enough, to political power, helping drive its office-seeking overtures towards the Christian democrats. However, despite more electoral incentives for left unity in France relative to Italy, the PCF’s greater ideological orthodoxy meant that communist–socialist relations were traditionally far worse in France than in Italy (Tannahill 1978). Other institutional incentives were also relevant. Most obvious was the effect of the legal system. The illegality of many CPs across Europe in the inter-war years contributed to communism’s near demise by the late 1930s, when it was vibrant only in France, and had an Eastern European stronghold only in the East’s one remaining democracy, Czechoslovakia. Many CPs (as in Spain, Finland and postwar Greece) combated illegality with proxy electoral ‘fronts’ to varying degrees of success. However, being banned tended to have a deleterious effect (particularly on smaller parties), increasing reliance on Moscow and ideological orthodoxy, notable in parties that were illegal for much of the twentieth century, such as the Portuguese and Greek communists.

External shocks What became abundantly clear by the 1970s was that no Western CP had adequate domestic strength to offset the tarnishing of the Soviet model. The French socialist Guy Mollet had remarked that communism was not on the left, but ‘in the East’ (Morris 1980: 158). Although Western communists did have a nonideological domestic support base, and indeed their support was often highest when they articulated domestic concerns (as in the anti-fascist ‘popular front’ period of the late 1930s, when pragmatic relations with the social democrats provided for a return to political influence in France and Spain), they were persistently subject to about-turns in Moscow’s policy. Constant tension between their teleological and societal aims ‘generated problems in adaptation to national circumstances’ (Botella and Ramiro 2003: 245). Moscow provided ideological, strategic, organisational, psychological and financial support to all CPs at various times. However, it’s still debatable as to how much direct influence the USSR furnished. As Renton and Eaden (2002: 180) argue regarding the CPGB: ‘The fact of a level of “Moscow Gold” is clear; what is less clear is the impact and effect that the funding had on the party’. Certainly, funding

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From crisis to mutation

and training in Moscow helped build up property, assets and the central party apparatus. Smaller parties like the CPGB and DKP were nearly entirely dependent on Moscow, while the leaderships of prohibited parties like the Portuguese and Greek communists sought exile in Eastern Europe (Tannahill 1978). Nevertheless, it is persuasive that generally communists ‘seriously believed that Russia was “the land of proletarian freedom”. They were not bought or coerced by a Moscow bureaucracy, they chose to obey’ (Renton and Eaden 2002: xix). Be that as it may, a lot of coercion went on. Several CP leaders (such as CPN leader Paul de Groot, PCF leader Maurice Thorez and all the Greek KKE leaders before 1991) were directly picked by the Comintern, many others (such as the CPGB’s R. Palme Dutt or the PCF’s Georges Marchais) owed their positions to indirect patronage (McInnes 1975: 117; Smith 1993: 88; Renton and Eaden 2002: 17; Guiat 2003: 168; Voerman 2008: 17). Moscow’s direct interference was most noticeable (and deleterious) during the ‘Bolshevization’ of the 1920s and 1930s. Yet constant zigzags in the ‘correct line’ (especially the branding of social democrats ‘social fascists’ in the 1920s, but above all the Nazi–Soviet pact of 1939) meant that on the eve of World War Two communism was ‘all but obliterated as a historic agency’ (Thompson 1998: 18 ). This was especially the case in countries like Poland, Hungary and Romania, where already small parties were decimated by Stalin’s purges (Claudín 1975: 308). The post-Stalin period was the era of ‘polycentrism’ and ‘national roads to socialism’, and many CPs began to edge away from Moscow’s orbit. Even under late Stalinism, direct Soviet interference in the policies of many national parties began decreasing (most noticeable in the wind up of the Comintern in 1943 and its replacement by the Cominform (Communist Information Bureau) in 1947). However, the background of communist leaderships bound most parties (or significant factions within them) psychologically to the USSR until well into the 1970s (Tannahill 1978: 96–7). Within European electorates more broadly, CPs were also tied inexorably to the prestige of the USSR. The peaks in communist support coincided with the Soviet Union’s high international standing, firstly after World War Two when ‘Left wings, union militants and pacifist sections’ of social democratic parties increasingly looked to Moscow, rather than Berlin, for inspiration (Bell 1993:1). The high-water mark was of course the late 1940s, when those communists who had participated in the anti-fascist resistance (in Italy, France, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Albania, Bulgaria and Greece) profited most in electoral and membership terms, becoming the leading force of the left in their respective countries. Although communists benefited less dramatically and lastingly where a resistance movement had been absent (as in Britain or Sweden) or relatively weak (as in Benelux), generally European communists gained their biggest ever electoral victories in the post-war aftermath, even in Britain, where the CPGB gained parliamentary seats (two) for the last time (see Table 2.2). In Eastern Europe, the prestige of the USSR as ‘liberator’ was particularly high, and the former ruling classes had been drastically weakened. Communists polled well even in countries where they had formerly been irrelevant (such as Hungary and Poland) and participated in government for the first time. Where they had

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a residue of pre-war domestic strength (notably in Czechoslovakia where they attained 38 per cent in a free and fair vote in 1946), they were soon able to dominate post-war coalitions. But from the late 1940s (with the notable exception of Yugoslavia) the Eastern CPs were thoroughly Stalinized by forced merger with social democrats, and harassment, abolition and eventually execution of opposition (Berend 1996). They became bureaucratic party states (as in the USSR) rather than true parties. Not until the late 1980s did these parties offer themselves for re-election in even semi-competitive elections, by which time the imposition of Marxism-Leninism as a state religion had extinguished the social democratic tradition and also destroyed any possibility of an authentic communist one. As Sassoon argues (1997: 109): ‘socialism was implanted, constrained within a relatively monolithic bloc, stultified into an official ideology, and unable to develop, adapt, or change.’ Of course, this was most graphically demonstrated in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968, when socialist reform movements were extinguished by Soviet tanks. Furthermore, Fascism and Stalinism obliterated Trotskyism as an agency in Eastern Europe except as a minor influence in émigré circles (Alexander 1991). As Table 2.2 indicates, the decline in international prestige of the Soviet Union coincided with a secular decline in communist support from the post-war peak, becoming a precipitate fall in the 1980s. After the early 1950s, communism ceased to exist as a significant national force in continental Western Europe outside Italy, France and Finland, and apart from these exceptions, social democratic parties became the dominant parties of the left. By the 1970s, some 90 per cent of West European communist members belonged to the parties of Italy and France (McInnes 1975: 2). In the era of ‘polycentrism’ it became increasingly apparent that European CPs were not mere facsimiles of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and beneath formal unity were often very diverse (e.g. Timmermann 1987). The international communist movement underwent a slow decline, represented after the wind up of the Cominform in 1956 by international conferences of communist and workers’ parties (1957, 1960 and 1969), the last being marked by significant absenteeism and lack of consensus. Nevertheless, their gradual distancing from the Soviet model availed CPs little – few were able to escape guilt by association in public eyes (Guiat 2003). Indeed, those parties most dependent on the Soviet Bloc (e.g. the (West) German Communist Party (DKP) that had replaced the banned KPD in 1968) suffered particularly badly. Nevertheless, the comprehensiveness and universality of the crisis that was encompassing almost all European CPs (ruling or otherwise) by the end of the 1980s indicated that post-Stalin communism was the root cause, irrespective of its national application. In the East, as Gorbachev found to his cost, even though the communist regimes were not devoid of social support (as significant nostalgia for their socio-economic policies throughout the 1990s was to prove), ‘really existing socialism’ also appeared ontologically incapable of evolutionary adaptation and liberalization (Sakwa 1998: 287–9). In most communist regimes, the ruling parties proved unable to rapidly change in the 1980s from bureaucratic organizations manipulating state resources into purely political parties competing on equal terms with their rivals.

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Internal factors A key cause of this unreformability of CPs was their internal political and ideological strategies (cf. Botella and Ramiro 2003: 245). In particular, all CPs were ‘political mastodonts (sic), slow to move and late in adapting’ (McInnes 1975: 91). A major contributory factor was Marxist-Leninist ideology. As Rosa Luxemburg argued, Soviet communism was an attempt to ‘freeze into a complete theoretical system’ tactics successful in very specific Russian circumstances (Luxemburg 1970: 79). It developed an exceedingly narrow range for theoretical innovation and limited responsiveness to political pluralism (Harding 1996: 267–80; Waller and Fennema 1988). Part of this narrow range was simply because of Moscow’s diktat – it is notable how those parties that had the least international strategic interest to Moscow, so escaping externally imposed ideological conformism and becoming most ‘national’, managed high electoral support (see Table 2.2). These included the Icelandic People’s Alliance, which had pursued a ‘Eurocommunist’ policy of centre-left alliances since the 1930s outside Moscow’s gaze (Gilberg 1980); Italy’s marginal role in international relations permitted the Italian PCI to become one of the least doctrinaire and Stalinist parties, developing an ideology based as much on Gramsci as on Lenin, and a post-war tradition of ‘reformist alliance policies’ (Guiat 1993: 171; Urban 1986: 16; Shore 1990). The Cypriot Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL) was the most electorally successful of all. AKEL gained legitimacy from supporting non-violence in the anti-Britain anti-colonial struggle. Cyprus’ non-aligned status allowed AKEL to combine outward loyalty to Moscow with more moderate domestic policies that combined nationalism, reform communism and cross-class cooperation (Dunphy and Bale 2007; Marioulas 2009). Yet the experience of Eurocommunism, which involved a distancing from Moscow and abandonment of revolutionary methods in favour of political pluralism and parliamentary democracy, demonstrated strict limits to communist reformism (e.g. Elliot and Schlesinger 1980; Holmes 1986). Eurocommunism was adopted by several major parties (principally the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) and the PCI, although the PCF also did so with much ambiguity and reluctance). It appeared to offer new tactical, strategic and theoretical flexibility that would provide an exit from crisis and enable vote- and office-seeking electoral strategies (e.g. Lange and Vennicelli 1981; Schwab 1981). However, although it paid some electoral dividends in the 1970s (especially for the PCI), by the 1980s Eurocommunism was a failure. The attempt to square Leninist traditions such as the vanguard party, democratic centralism and class politics with pluralist multi-party democracy ‘opened a Pandora’s box of contradictions’ fomenting an existential crisis (Dunphy 2004: 32). No ‘third way’ between socialism and democracy proved possible and ‘reforming’ CPs proved deeply problematic. As George Urban stated (1978: 8) Eurocommunism ‘is a freak which must either end in Social democracy or revert to some form of Leninism. In the first case it [would] cease to be Communist, in the second it [would] no longer be Euro’. Gorbachev’s attempted

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reform of the CPSU also mirrored the crisis of Eurocommunism. Indeed, according to Sakwa ‘Gorbachev can be seen as a Eurocommunist’ (Sakwa 1991: 107). His invocations for ‘more socialism, more democracy’ foundered on the impossibility of grafting elements of Western liberalism and constitutional practice onto a party that remained committed to Leninism. By 1991, Soviet ‘communist’ ideology was increasingly indistinguishable from Western social democracy. Furthermore, the Leninist organizational model (predicated on ‘democratic centralism’, the principle of obligatory subordination of the minority to the majority) was designed for clandestine military takeover (and as such was a significant factor in the success of communist anti-Fascism during World War Two). However, when democratic centralism was employed as a principle of party development (a purpose it was originally never designed for), it promoted cohesive but extremely introverted organizations that developed a rigidly authoritarian intra-party power balance – ‘crunching inertia’ and bureaucratic dogmatism (Tiersky 1985: 49). Because they took secretive decisions which were then imposed on the party from above, democratic centralist parties were prone to leadership dominance and erratic decision making, but simultaneously unable either to respond sufficiently flexibly to sustained social and electoral opportunities, or provide adequate channels for rank and file policy input or dissent, leading to periodic schisms and purges (Botella and Ramiro 2003: 246; Waller 1981). Clearly, the model was not applied equally everywhere. From 1944, The Italian PCI abandoned the elite Leninist party model in favour of the partito nuovo, a mass membership party modelled on the ‘psychological and structural characteristics of Italian Catholicism rather than the political culture of Soviet Leninism’ (Urban 1986: 219–220). Nevertheless, the party’s ‘monolithic structure remained unchanged at the top long after the Leninist model had been significantly altered at the grassroots’ (Bardi and Morlino 1994: 262). The modification of democratic centralism helped the PCI adapt electorally, but the party was still too rigid to confront its 1980s crisis sufficiently. Conversely, the Nordic new left’s adoption of a non-dogmatic, non-Leninist and national approach to Marxism from the 1960s entailed the abandoning of democratic centralism, and can be regarded as critical in providing greater strategic and tactical flexibility that allowed Nordic parties to weather the collapse of the USSR better than many communists elsewhere. Certainly, those parties which most cleaved to the democratic centralist model were least able to react to their external environment. The PCF was traditionally seen as one the most doctrinaire and ideologically hidebound – a ‘totalitarian bureaucracy’ (Bell and Criddle 1994: 1). It shared this dubious honour with the Greek and Portuguese CPs, whose long periods of illegality essentially fossilized their ideological development. The perpetual schisms of Trotskyist parties were due both to their Leninist obsession with ‘correct doctrine’ and above all their rigorous application of democratic centralism (Callaghan 1987). Moreover, the perceived bureaucratic and authoritarian structures of the existing CPs were a major catalyst for the new left: ‘[d]istrust or outright rejection of hierarchy, tight organizational structures and traditional political manoeuvring and bargaining has . . . featured prominently in [the New Left’s] political ethos’ (Thompson 1997: 213).

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In turn these structures prevented the CPs effectively responding to the new left. Overall, the norm by the 1980s was for increasing internal dissent and the incremental relaxation of democratic centralism (which itself often revealed highly divided parties). One of the key examples was factionalism within the Finnish Communist Party (SKP) from the late 1960s onwards that precipitated its decline. The pragmatic, modernizing ‘majority’ and a Moscow-loyal ‘minority’ came to form de facto parallel parties within the SKP and the party finally split between 1984 and 1986 (e.g. Arter 1993). Had it not been for Moscow’s pressure to preserve party unity, a full split and the emergence of a dominant new left party (as occurred in other Nordic countries) could have occurred much earlier. Instead the Finnish Left Alliance, as we shall see in Chapter 5, emerged only between 1989 and 1990, and has to date been hampered by an incomplete rupture with its communist past. The final internal factor to consider is simply the effect of problematic decisions taken by leaderships at critical junctures that maximized party problems in other dimensions. To mention just some, the PCE leadership’s attempts to impose Eurocommunism on the party in a top-down way, whilst simultaneously failing to anticipate the rise of the (social democratic) Socialist Workers’ Party, led to a precipitate decline in PCE support in the early 1980s (Botella 1988). The PCI’s ‘historic compromise’ of the late 1970s (seeking governmental participation with the Christian democrats) was predicated on mistaken leadership expectations that an office-seeking strategy would not cost them votes (D’Alimonte 1999). Instead, the PCI disappointed its own radical supporters, leading to an abrupt decline in its vote. The PCF took a consistently sectarian, Stalinist position. Its misreading of socialist weakness and failure to court the middle classes in the 1960s led to the revival of the Socialist Party as the dominant left-wing party in the 1970s (Courtois and Pechanski 1988). Furthermore, most CPs lacked a mechanism of institutionalized, regular, leadership rotation – after the Stalinist purges their leaders ruled for years and changed only after ill health, death or intra-party coups. This did partially limit the effect of abrupt internal ‘critical junctures’ and oscillations in dominant party coalitions. However, the downside was the emergence of unchecked and conservative leaderships – organization men whose priority was the maintenance of the party status quo rather than flexible adaptation to changing environments – the long-lasting, dour, uncharismatic but stable PCF leadership of Maurice Thorez (1930–64) and Georges Marchais (1972–1994) are the archetypes.

The palette of paths from communism All in all, long before 1991, communists, non-ruling and ruling alike, were facing increasingly unpropitious domestic and foreign circumstances with party organizations that were suffering electoral, ideological and organizational attrition to which they responded at best partially. Then the fall of the Berlin Wall (November 1989) and the collapse of the Soviet Union (August–December 1991) abruptly destroyed most of their remaining legitimacy, electoral and financial support

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across Europe. In many Eastern countries, new anti-communist authorities often used the opportunity to ban the CPs and expropriate their resources. Although in much of the former Soviet Union the bans were eventually rescinded, in several states (such as Albania and the Baltic states) CPs remain illegal. In several other countries (e.g. Romania, Croatia and Serbia) communists are no longer explicitly forbidden, but constitutional strictures against the promulgation of ‘totalitarian’ ideologies mean that they face continuing difficulties with electoral registration (e.g. de Nève and Olteanu 2009). Where parties were permitted to reorganize, they responded by either discarding communist identity altogether or in some sense reaffirming it, but their strategies to do so were complex. Six such strategies can be detected: 1

2

3

4

5

6

Many decided finally to renounce the ‘communist’ label. For some (e.g. the Finnish SKP which became the Left Alliance, or the German SED, which eventually became today’s Left Party) this was largely a question of renaming or refounding themselves and redefining themselves as non-communist left parties. Many others (particularly the majority of former ruling parties in Eastern Europe) transformed into fully fledged social democratic parties that joined the Socialist International. In Western Europe, the only example was the Italian PCI, which evolved into the Democratic Party of the Left and ultimately today’s Democratic Party. Some former ruling parties took on an increasingly social populist and nationalist tinge in the 1990s (such as the Serbian Socialist Party, the Bulgarian Socialist Party and Social Democratic Party of Romania), although since 2000 all these parties have become essentially social democratic (for reasons explored in Chapter 6). Many parties ceased to exist independently, and re-emerged as parts of electoral coalitions either of a democratic socialist orientation (such as the PCE becoming after 1986 a dominant part of the United Left coalition), or as minor allies of the social democratic party (for example the Communist Party of Bulgaria has been part of the socialist-led ‘Coalition for Bulgaria’ since 2001). Many (e.g. in Britain, Belgium, and much of Eastern Europe), have simply not re-emerged as relevant parties. Others dissolved themselves more completely into post-communist coalitions of various ideologies. For example, the Communist Party of the Netherlands re-emerged as a part of GroenLinks in 1989, a non-radical ‘red-green’ party. Others formed what are sometimes called ‘broad left parties’ (e.g. Socialist Resistance 2008), permanent coalitions of diverse radical and extreme left tendencies, for example the Italian Communist Refoundation, Scottish Socialist Party, Danish Red–Green Alliance, Portuguese Left Bloc and Greek Synaspismós. Many parties maintained their former names and identity but sought to adapt slowly to changed circumstances. For example the Cypriot AKEL and the Dutch SP (a former Maoist Party) were to maintain their organizational

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From crisis to mutation integrity but gradually moderate their policies in the early 1990s. Several other parties undertook a minimal amount of adaptation (e.g. the CPs in the Czech Republic, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine broadly accepted political pluralism and multiparty democracy, although often with much reluctance). Parties which previously had a long tradition of opposition to change (e.g. in Greece and Portugal) largely ignored any lessons from 1989 and reaffirmed their Marxist-Leninist identity.

It is not at all surprising that parties chose such divergent strategies, given the decline by the 1980s of the monolithism of ‘orthodox communism’ (cf. Bull 1994). Whilst the demise of the USSR as an external sponsor was the terminal blow to many (turning off their material and financial life support), it at least offered the option of escaping the Soviet stigma and adopting more flexible strategic and ideological approaches. Irrespective of strategy chosen, one aim common to many parties since 1989 has been to adopt a ‘nationally authentic socialism’, that is to find identities that restore their domestic political legitimacy, stress the domestic socialist heritage and remove any ‘taint’ from identification with a ‘failed project’ (Mahr and Nagle 1995). Which factors prompted party change? The literature examining successor parties in Eastern Europe can be fruitfully adapted to explain party strategies in the West also, particularly since it draws heavily on the party change literature outlined above. In terms of external factors, the collapse of the USSR was the most obvious shock to party adaptation – parties having to reorientate themselves rapidly just to survive electorally, organizationally, financially and even physically (above all in Eastern Europe, where the communists faced mass demonstrations and (e.g. in Romania) the threat of bloody reprisals from an angry population). Again, the political opportunities provided by the party system were significant external supply-side factors helping provide openings in the political space (Ishiyama 1997). Quite simply, the existence of competitors (social democratic, Green or new left) limited these openings. In much of east-central Europe a social democratic strategy was often a winning one because Soviet communism was widely discredited (although less so in the USSR itself), historical social democratic parties had been suppressed, and now social democracy promised Westernization, modernity and a rapid ‘return to Europe’. But Eastern Europe had experienced little post-1968 post-materialism and so there was little electoral demand for Green or new left strategies there in the early 1990s. Hence the majority of ruling parties in the East (e.g. in Poland, Hungary and Lithuania) rapidly social democratized. On the other hand, Eastern parties had other demandside factors available: if there was a strong ethnic or centre–periphery cleavage this facilitated the formation of a nationalist (as in the Latvian Socialist Party, which runs in coalition with left-leaning Russophone parties) or regionalist (the German LP) electoral appeal (Bozóki and Ishiyama 2002). Where the transition to democracy proved problematic (as it has done in much of the Former Soviet Union and south-eastern Europe) national-populist strategies (such as the Serbian socialists’) were further reinforced, since they preserved elements of political

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radicalism and patronage structures in highly clientelist societies (Kitschelt et al. 1999). In Western Europe, a broadly democratic socialist strategy (involving elements of the new left agenda) was the most natural exit route from communism since the social democratic niche was generally occupied and other Green and new left parties present but not hegemonic (Botella and Ramiro 2003). Italy was the main exception: the social democratization of the PCI was viable because the existing Italian Socialist Party (PSI) was historically weaker and was destroyed by the mani pulite (‘Clean Hands’) scandals of 1992. Elsewhere in Western Europe, existing social democratic parties limited the dividends of a move to the centre, but where Green or new left parties were strong (e.g. in Scandinavia, France and Germany) even a democratic socialist strategy had limited opportunities. On the other hand, existing CP strength affected its ability to adapt in the first place. As we shall see further in Chapter 4, Soviet communism does have a residue of support in several countries, which allows even relatively unreconstructed CPs to survive. In the West, parties that maintained electoral strength into the 1980s (such as the PCI and AKEL) managed to maintain significant electoral support into the 1990s, irrespective of their otherwise divergent strategies. Conversely, parties who contemplated reform when they were already marginal (e.g. Britain, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland) have generally been unable to retain any political influence whatsoever. However, the ability of each party to adapt was also heavily influenced by internal supply-side factors. For example, even if they jettisoned Marxism-Leninism, Eastern ruling CPs were able to parlay significant political capital (personnel, financial, organizational) to their social democratic successors (e.g. Orenstein 1998). But this capital was affected by parties’ historical political-cultural legacies. For instance, parties with a tradition of internal policy reform and moderation arguably bestowed new leaderships with greater ‘portable skills’, including skills in compromise, negotiation and policy reform and a ‘usable past’ – a record of positive achievements that might resonate with the electorate and buttress postcommunist claims of competence (Kitschelt et al. 1999; Grzymała-Busse 2002). Party adaptation could therefore go further and faster. Conversely, parties whose internal traditions were more authoritarian and reform-averse were unable to adapt to the shock of the USSR’s demise proactively and their leaderships tended towards conservative approaches which failed to capitalize on (or even realize) political opportunities. Such tendencies can be seen in both Western and Eastern parties. For instance, both the Italian PCI and Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR) initiated their eventual transformation into social democratic parties long before 1989. In the former case, it can be regarded as the culmination of the long tradition of postwar reformist alliance policies. In the latter, Stalin had likened establishing communism in Poland to saddling a cow – consequently the PZPR tended to prefer accommodation to repression, even tolerating private farming and the Catholic Church. In the face of ongoing socio-economic difficulties its leadership had all but abandoned Marxism by the early 1980s (Zubek 1995). In comparison, the

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French PCF’s continuing sectarianism meant that it approached the 1990s marginalized by a resurgent socialist party, the emerging Greens and increasingly vibrant Trotskyist trends. In the East, the more rigid and conservative a party’s tradition, the more likely it was to suffer paralysis and collapse in the face of increasing opposition. This was the case above all in Czechoslovakia and the GDR, where parties that had relied heavily on repression simply capitulated when fear of that repression dissipated. Whether parties were able to parlay these Soviet-era ideological and organizational legacies into lasting post-communist success is a different, though related, question that we will explore in further detail in case studies in the coming chapters. Suffice it to note now that the ultimate success of party strategies much depended on the nature of the intra-party coalition that became dominant at key critical junctures in the aftermath of the collapse of the USSR, and how this coalition lastingly influenced party primary goals and structure. For example, Ishiyama (1995) sees the intra-party ideological struggle in the early 1990s (a struggle itself legacy influenced) between ‘standpatters’ (conservative communists) ‘liberals’ (reformist communists) and ‘democratic reformists’ (social democrats) as defining the party’s post-communist programmatic orientation. Grzymała-Busse (2002) also argues that successful party adaptation needs an office/vote-seeking dominant coalition, whose pre-existing, reform-oriented ‘portable skills’ aid propitious decisions in the formative years 1989–91, such as organizational centralization, a decisive break with the detrimental elements of the party’s past and swift policy reformulation. In general, by far the most successful of the above-mentioned ideological strategies (in office/vote-seeking terms) was social democratization. Ex-communist social democrats soon shed their communist stigma and governed (alone or in coalition) across east-central Europe from the early 1990s and in Italy in 1996– 2001 and 2006–8. Yet even this strategy has not proved universally successful: for example, social democrats in Slovakia and the former Yugoslavia long played second fiddle to dominant nationalist and populist forces. As Anthony Downs notes (1957: 111) parties are generally ideologically immobile, since perfect information about what the electorate wants is unavailable and rapid ideological shifts (unless justified by some radical change in conditions) will convince voters that they are unreliable. In the case of CPs, choosing a social democratic strategy would entail a disavowal of often long-held organizational, ideological and sentimental loyalties – that is, a direct break from parties’ usual risk aversion. Therefore, we should not be at all surprised that many CPs refused obviously vote- and office-seeking strategies and sought not just to reaffirm a radical left identity but specifically a communist one, particularly since by the 1980s communism had a long tradition of bureaucratic inertia. Yet, this choice was not necessarily irrational or short-sighted, even as a office/vote-seeking strategy. After all, the political environment of the early 1990s offered communists wider recognition as legitimate actors for the first time since World War Two (if only because their competitors regarded them as irrelevant). Consequently, it also offered RLPs the distant prospect of government (albeit as very junior

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coalition partners), which had been the exception rather than the rule during the Cold War. Nevertheless, as we turn now to look at individual parties in further detail, we should remember that the political environment after 1989 was otherwise not necessarily propitious for the re-emergence of RLPs in general, nor the communists in particular. First, particularly in the East, becoming legitimate actors has been easier said than done, since many elites have used anti-communism as a legitimating strategy and covert or overt repression against communists (e.g. their political isolation or job discrimination against sympathizers) has proceeded under the guise either of explicit ‘lustration’ of communist officialdom or of combatting totalitarianism generally (e.g. in Germany, the Czech Republic and Baltic States) (Appel 2005; Berger 1995). Second, like the fascists of the 1930s, who in many cases remained minority movements without electoral support, the RLPs of the 1990s were ‘latecomers on the political scene’, (re-)entering a political environment that was usually already heavily populated (Linz 1977: 4–8). There was no guarantee that voters might prefer a moderate communist or democratic socialist party to a social democratic party, a red-green party to a green-green one, or a populist socialist party to a purely populist one, even if RLPs themselves defined their strategy clearly (Bell 1993; Botella and Ramiro 2003: 250). Moreover, as Eurocommunism had indicated, the effective and rigid demarcation of a radical left ‘third way’ from the centre-left was tricky. With the ideological and financial backbone of the USSR no more, and the Marxist-Leninist heritage increasingly jettisoned, cultivating a position to the left of and not just on the left of social democracy was a constant problem confronting all RLPs, accompanied by ever greater pressures for disorientation and de-radicalization.

Conclusion With the benefit of hindsight, the rise and decline of the twentieth century communists clearly demonstrates the bankruptcy of the Marxist-Leninist ideological and organizational model, producing with very few exceptions parties prone to introversion, conservatism and lack of adaptability, not to mention subservience to Moscow. Few parties were able to transcend the limitations of this model in the Soviet period. Moreover, the ‘success’ of the communists is difficult to demonstrate. Electorally, they were only ever a ‘small party family’, with only a handful (principally in Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Italy, France, Iceland, Finland, Portugal and San Marino) ever polling over 15 per cent of the vote (Mair 1991). Their active contribution to anti-fascist campaigns in the 1930s and the anti-axis resistance was essential. However, in the post-war period their exclusion from national political power in Western Europe made their concrete achievements difficult to quantify, despite their rhetorical defence of the interests of the working class and the (electorally and materially) dispossessed – strata which at best they only partially represented. Further east, any positive gloss is dulled by the huge personal, social and economic costs involved in the building of ‘really existing

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socialism’, even though the communists gained support for their efforts at postwar reconstruction, welfare support, and improvements in universal literacy and education. In East and West alike, late twentieth-century communism increasingly became synonymous with bureaucratism and political ossification. It became a far from radical, even conservative, force to many of those whom it professed to attract. Since communists were the radical left’s most important representatives, this failure has necessarily critically weakened RLPs both organizationally and ideologically, but it does not necessarily demonstrate the failure of left-wing radicalism per se. Indeed, even without discussing right wing variants, the twentieth century can be seen as a century of radicalism, much of it with deep domestic roots in European societies. For example, the peaks in communist support after each world war coincided not just with Moscow’s international prestige, but with a rising tide of post-war domestic radicalism (in particular after the ‘liberation’ of Eastern Europe). Moreover, outside the CPs, the rise of the new left in the 1950s60s and the Greens in the 1980s indicated new autonomous waves of radicalism emerging as a product of cultural and electoral change, although waves certainly subject to a consistent process of incorporation and moderation in established party systems. In addition, the above overview indicates that the more successful communists were always those that successfully (even if temporarily) balanced the teleological and societal dimensions of communism and implanted themselves in national and local environments. Such parties as the PCI, AKEL and the Nordic left developed traditions of incremental policy reform and more extroverted strategies towards newer constituencies which potentially granted them significant portable skills and usable pasts able to be employed in the post-Soviet era. Consequently, the demise of the USSR opened up at least the possibility that once communism had lost its radical sheen, other parties able to espouse a ‘nationally authentic’ socialism might occupy the perceived vacuum. Nevertheless, as demonstrated above, this perceived vacuum was very crowded, not least by CPs who still refused to concede their historical positions passively. It is to those that we now turn.

3

The Western European communists Perpetual crisis?

With the case studies in this chapter and subsequent ones, I adopt a consistent approach to understanding party identity and party choices using the framework outlined in Chapter 2. Each case starts with some background, then focusses on the internal dynamics within each party. In particular it discusses the party’s historical origins, identifying the role of intra-party factions at critical junctures in the party’s formation and any lasting ‘portable skills’ or ‘usable pasts’ resulting from these processes – particularly personnel or organizational legacies. Second, it goes on to examine the salient features of party programme and ideology and how these affect the party’s core policy stances. Third, each case focusses on the demand and external supply-side, in particular salient issues, political institutions, party systemic factors and any external shocks that may have influenced party conduct. Finally, each case makes observations on the party’s medium-term political prospects. Consequently each case enables us to identity the party’s core aims and the chief influences impacting on these aims. In focus here are three West European parties selected for illustrating different approaches to maintaining the communist legacy after 1989: a conservative, ‘ostrich-like’ strategy of avoiding reform and reflection (the Greek Communist Party, KKE); attempts to ‘reform’ communism and address the implications of communist crisis more directly (the Italian Party of Communist Refoundation, PRC, hereafter Rifondazione). Finally, I look at a half-way house (the French Communist Party, PCF), which addressed its post-communist conditions in a very belated and contradictory way, but has taken no strategic or ideological option to its logical conclusion. These parties’ resultant trajectories have differed: relative internal stability combined with political marginalization (the KKE); a central role as coalition partner within the party system combined with increasing crisis then ultimately party collapse (Rifondazione); a progressive and potentially fatal electoral and organizational decline (the PCF). What the parties share, however, is an apparent inability fully to overcome the crisis of the 1980s except on a sporadic basis; as now minor parties within their domestic political systems they are increasingly vulnerable to external pressures (above all from centre-left competitors) which they have little ability to influence; these pressures push towards a progressive de-radicalization that only the KKE has fully resisted. In 1988, Marc Lazar saw

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the West European communists as a retreating army, ‘capable of sharp counterattacks to win time, but unable to put together a decisive, full-scale counter-attack that would reverse the tide of battle’ (Lazar 1988: 256). Unfortunately for them, the same largely applies twenty years later, and many campaigns and battalions have been lost in the interim. Whilst (except perhaps in the Italian case) the imminent complete demise of communists is unlikely, their long-term future remains precarious.

The KKE: solidity in the face of change The KKE long ago received the reputation of being one of the most Moscow-loyal and rigidly ‘orthodox’ parties of all. This ‘palaeostalinism’ (Mavrogordatos 1983: 73) derived directly from the party’s historical legacy: leading the resistance first against Germany, then the UK and US-backed government in the brutal civil war of 1945–9; it was banned from 1947–1974. Many cadres sheltered in the Soviet Bloc, developing firm ties to the Soviet Union and an ‘inability throughout the years in exile to develop an independent political theory’ (Smith 1993: 87). In particular, the KKE never underwent thorough de-Stalinization nor engaged with ‘new left’ thinking such as feminism (Clogg 1987). The party’s inability to adjust its directives from abroad to Greek realities led in 1969–70 to a split between the ‘Stalinist’ KKE and ‘Eurocommunist’ KKE-Interior (KKE-es) the latter of which had long participated in electoral fronts within Greece and sought a more peaceful and flexible adjustment to domestic politics. However, after the end of Greek military dictatorship in 1974, the KKE received backing from Moscow and other pro-Soviet parties, and was able to confine the KKE-Interior to the political margins at under 3 per cent of the vote after 1977 (Mavrogordatos 1983).1 Yet the KKE was itself marginalized in the early 1980s by the social populist Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), which came to power in 1981 on a heady cocktail of populist slogans, anti-Western nationalism and militant-sounding Marxism, rejecting social democracy and even employing ‘the jargon of communist polemics’ in inveighing against ‘fractionalism’ and ‘Trotskyists’ (Clogg 1987: 131). Only after 1996 did PASOK take a more mainstream centre-left position that opened up a broader vacuum to its left (Mavrogordatos 1997; Clogg 1993). Despite an initial ‘wait-and-see’ attitude towards Gorbachev’s perestroika, by 1990 the KKE was deeply split over its attitude to the fall of the Berlin Wall. With the election of Grigoris Farakos (a veteran conservative reinventing himself as a reformer) as general secretary in 1990, ‘renovators’, who represented a younger post-civil war generation, proposed de-Stalinization and revision to the party’s shibboleths of proletarian internationalism, dictatorship of the proletariat and democratic centralism. The KKE’s previous doctrinaire, anti-system stance meant that it was long viewed as ‘unfit for government responsibility’ (Pridham and Verney 1991: 45). Yet the party began a more pragmatic, office-seeking strategy, joining the Synaspismós (Coalition) with KKE-es members (then called the Greek Left), and entering government in coalition with the conservative New Democracy

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(ND) in 1989–90. This coalition’s principal aim was to purge the Greek political system of the widespread corruption of PASOK rule, but the KKE also envisaged promoting a left alternative to PASOK and increasing its domestic legitimacy. However, sharing government with the right was poorly understood by KKE members and led to vote losses. Conservatives remained entrenched in the party politburo and central committee; overall the balance of ‘renovators’ to ‘hardliners’ was approximately 50:50, whilst long-standing former leader Harilaos Florakis remained party president (Doukas 1991). A strong conservative rearguard action aided by Florakis resulted in the election of hard-liner Aleka Papariga as new general secretary in February 1991. The Synaspismós was renounced; the KKE supported the August 1991 coup of Soviet hard-liners against Gorbachev, denounced him thereafter as a traitor, and initiated a purge of ‘bourgeois counterrevolutionaries’ (Dunphy 2004: 107). The reformists (including Farakos) were swiftly expelled or resigned with losses of perhaps 40 per cent of the membership. Overall, the party had restored its image as the ‘heroic KKE’ of the civil war generation: in membership and political outlook it had ‘been set back almost thirty years’ (Smith, 1993: 98). Under Papariga’s continued leadership since 1991, the party has adopted an ‘ostrich-like’ attitude to ideological and strategic change, drawing its ‘usable past’ and ‘portable skills’ entirely from Soviet-era narratives: indeed, there are no lessons to learn from the collapse of the USSR, since this is a temporary defeat ‘in the era of the transition from capitalism to socialism’ (KKE 1996). Allegedly: ‘[n]ot only have Marxist-Leninist teachings on revolution been left intact by the reversal of socialism in Europe, they are . . . confirmed by it’ – in terms of continued capitalist crisis, the internationalization of the working class and the utopia of Keynesian solutions (Papariga 2003). Therefore, the KKE continues to analyse the world through ideological prisms now abandoned by much of the radical left; especially Brezhnev-era ‘scientific’ Marxist-Leninism, proletarian internationalism and strict democratic centralism, all of which it sees as fully appropriate for ‘a revolutionary communist party in its character and mission’ (KKE 1996; 2005a). The party upgraded its quiet approval of Stalin at its 18th Congress in 2009, attributing the collapse of the USSR to post-Stalin ‘opportunism’ and declaring that: ‘We resolutely reject the bourgeois and opportunist viewpoints referring to “red fascism” or “totalitarianism” during the Stalin period’ (KKE 2009a). Accordingly, the party sees international events through Manichean Cold Warera lenses, whereby the forces of ‘imperialism’ are ranged against the communist camp. The party’s civil war experience further intensifies its vehement rejection of Western (particularly US) foreign policy. Symptomatically, the KKE’s allies ‘in the eye of the imperialist cyclone’ include not just Cuba, but North Korea, Vietnam and China (the latter, though is upbraided for its acceptance of market economics!) The party is not just anti-NATO and Eurosceptic (as most RLPs are), but vehemently Euro-rejectionist, continuing to advocate complete withdrawal on the grounds that the EU is an irredeemably anti-democratic and bureaucratic institution (‘the EU of capital and war’) serving the interests of capitalist monopolies and responsible for unemployment and austerity policies (Dunphy 2004: 104).

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In as much as it shows any ideological development at all, the KKE has increasingly moved in a social populist direction to exploit the niche vacated by PASOK since the early 1990s when it abandoned radical rhetoric, opposition to NATO and the EU and adopted a more centre-left ‘modernization’ strategy. The contemporary KKE supplements the discourse of Stalin-era ‘socialism in one country’ with anti-American nationalism and anti-globalization rhetoric, including expressing solidarity with all forms of social protest, ranging from farmers and school students to the global justice movement (GJM) emerging since 1999 (Kalyvas and Marantzidis 2005; Lyrintzis 2005). Nevertheless, the party’s position towards the GJM remains independent and sectarian – it sees the movement’s social forums as irredeemably dominated by social democratic, pro-European, anti-communist and capitalist elements, in essence designed to ‘trap and to assimilate radical forces’ (KKE 2005a). In order to preserve its ‘vanguard role’ over these movements, the KKE formed the anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly, Democratic Front, a movement centred on the KKE’s own youth organization (the Communist Youth of Greece, KNE) (Kalyvas and Marantzidis 2005). Similarly, in 1999 the KKE set up the All-Workers Militant Front (PAME), which aims to criticize and mobilize separately from the main trade union federation, the General Confederation of Greek Workers. Characteristically, the party distanced itself from the December 2008 riots (protesting the shooting of an Athenian student by a trigger-happy policeman), regarding the ‘anti-establishment movement’ as a ‘tool operating at the expense of the movement’ and a deviation from class struggle (KKE 2009b). Given this profile, we might well wonder why the party has continued to exist at all. True enough, it has remained marginal within the Greek party system, stabilizing at a level well below its 1980s performance, when it averaged 10 per cent of the vote (see Table 1.1). It no longer has any coalition or blackmail potential. The ‘reinforced proportionality’ system in the Vouli (parliament) favours the two largest parties (PASOK and ND) and except in extreme circumstances (like the grand ‘crisis’ coalitions of 1989–90) results in strong single-party government (Kovras 2010). Consequently, any aspirations of overtaking PASOK have been long jettisoned and the KKE is no longer even a national party, with its core support coming from predominately urban industrial sectors of Greece’s small working class. Moreover, the party’s bedrock of ‘municipal communism’ has collapsed: by 2002 it managed to elect just 60 mayors in 1000 municipalities, with none in any major city. Symptomatically, the KKE is now predominately a party of older, less-educated people, although it retains significant influence among some trade unions and agricultural organizations, and its extreme populism has latterly increased its vote among the young (Kalyvas and Marantzidis 2005; Sartzekis and Anastassiadis 2009). Clearly, the KKE’s ‘usable past’, since it is so strongly rooted in the political culture of the civil war generation, may gradually lose salience, even though civil war and military dictatorship have bequeathed a pervasive polarization and tradition of left-wing militancy to Greek politics. Nevertheless, the KKE’s strategy has proved paradoxically successful, even if only relatively. Its rigid policies rule out electoral alliances or significant electoral

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expansion but they have guaranteed the party a consolidated, unified organization and a distinct niche within the party system as PASOK has moved rightwards in socio-economic policy (Kalyvas and Marantzidis 2003). Although the KKE’s ‘extremist’ positions limit its ability to trade on voter disaffection with PASOK, they also limit the risk of PASOK squeezing its vote, despite the increase in Greek voter volatility since the 1990s (Nicolacopoulos 2005). The KKE is further helped by the enduring weakness of its main challenger on the left, Synaspismós (Coalition of the Left of Movements and Ecology). SYN is the successor to the Greek Left and the Coalition of 1989–9, which became a party in 1992 following the inclusion of ex-KKE dissidents. Since 2004 it has itself moved further leftwards by participating in the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) with ten smaller communist, eco-socialist, Maoist and Trotskyist groups. SYN has developed a post-communist new left platform supportive of democratic socialism, minority rights, ecology and further EU integration (albeit with the aim of a more harmonious, democratic and more egalitarian EU). However, even as part of SYRIZA it has failed to expand much beyond a 3–5 per cent electoral niche (and constantly risks dipping below the 3 per cent parliamentary threshold). It is hampered by Greek political culture, which remains more materialist than postmaterialist, with a weak new left tradition debilitated by considerable economic difficulties; hence SYN remains rooted in white-collar workers, students and intellectual strata, and although it is the third party in local government, it lacks a broader electoral constituency (Dunphy 2004: 110). Furthermore, an essentially bipolar political system has left SYN with the difficulty of carving out a distinct, independent electoral niche: voters tend to desert it for PASOK in order to defeat the conservative ND (as in 2000 and 2009). In addition, SYN has compounded its own weakness: from its origins it has been highly factionalized and there have been considerable internal ructions not just within SYN but the SYRIZA coalition as a whole (Eleftheriou 2009). SYN/SYRIZA’s young leader Alexis Tsipras (elected in 2008) appealed to PASOK voters who wanted to pressure their own leadership to shift leftwards, and SYRIZA’s opinion poll rating even hit 18 per cent in 2008. However, SYRIZA squandered this popularity by intra-party disputes over leadership, support for the November 2008 riots (which was perceived negatively in Greek public opinion) and above all Europe: principally because some Euro-rejectionist SYRIZA members questioned the more pro-EU positions central to SYN. This led to the coalition’s vote declining to under 5 per cent in the 2009 European and Vouli elections (Gilson 2009: Kovras 2010). In June 2010, 4 of SYN’s 13 MPs formed the breakaway Democratic Left Party when their proposals for SYN to leave SYRIZA altogether failed to get backing. SYRIZA’s weakness has allowed the KKE to pursue sectarianism with impunity. SYRIZA allows KKE dissidents to ‘exit’ the party and undermines the ‘voice’ option of reforming it from within, but simultaneously fails to make any substantial inroad into the KKE electorate (Kalyvas and Marantzidis 2003: 689). Consequently, the KKE has repeatedly ruled out cooperation with the ‘social democratic’ and opportunist SYRIZA (Papariga 2008); the KKE’s claim that all other

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parties (including the left) are ‘agents of imperialism’ has become an ever more central campaign theme (Verney 2004). The KKE’s increasing reliance on populist, anti-European positions, its stance of being both consistent, predictable and ‘alone against everyone’ and simple slogans like ‘Plutocracy must pay for the crisis’ have allowed it to flourish in an environment of increasing political, economic and social unrest. As Dunphy (2004: 107) notes, although prior to 2008 EU membership increased Greece’s overall national wealth, it also hit traditional industries and poor farmers hard, and Greece has continued to suffer from high levels of social inequality, youth unemployment, corruption and public distrust of the authorities on which the KKE trades (cf. Kariotis 2003). After 2008, Greece was hit by an all-consuming economic crisis. The draconian austerity measures promoted by the PASOK government (2009–) to meet the EU/IMF’s deficit-reduction plans have promoted a collapse in GDP and a boom in unemployment (unofficially, up to 20 per cent). Accordingly, a ‘mixture of fear, hopelessness and anger is brewing in Greek society’ (Jessen 2010). Against this background, it is less surprising that the KKE’s vote has latterly hit post-Cold War highs. It gained 9.5 per cent and 8.4 per cent in the 2004 and 2009 European elections respectively. It reached 8.2 per cent in September 2007 in a Vouli election marked by widespread disaffection with the ND’s handling of summer forest fires and an error-prone PASOK campaign (this election also saw SYRIZA’s vote rise to 5.04 per cent). KKE’s vote then dropped to 7.5 per cent in 2009 when PASOK returned to power – a result which Papariga presented as a success, but which allegedly caused much (hushed-up) disquiet in KKE ranks (Sarzekis and Anastassiadis 2009). Nevertheless, it still remained comfortably ahead of SYRIZA in the November 2010 regional and municipal elections, gaining 10.9 per cent to the latter’s 4.5 against a background of increasing abstention and discontent with the mainstream parties and increased votes (1.8 per cent) for extreme left groupuscules, although since the KKE did not run in coalition it gained just one mayor to SYRIZA’s eight (SYN 2010). Arguably, the KKE now faces its greatest competition from the right, not the left, with the populist Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) gaining increasing support (e.g. 5.6 per cent in the parliamentary elections in 2009) on an anti-EU, antiglobalization, chauvinist platform that favours greater state intervention in the economy and which gained workers’ support in Athens, Pireas and Thessaloniki (Kloke 2007; Gemenis and Dinas 2010). Nevertheless, LAOS’ support for the austerity measures appears to have halted its growth. Overall, against all odds, the KKE may mark the twentieth anniversary of the USSR’s collapse in its strongest position since.

Italy: permanent refoundation Compared with the KKE and PCF, Rifondazione is a ‘new’ party showing far less continuity with its Cold War-era predecessor, and as such is far more marked by its ‘formative moment’. Rifondazione arose from the intra-party opposition to

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57

the transformation of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) into a centre-left party (from 1991–1998, the Democratic Party of the Left – PDS; from 1998–2007 the Democrats of the Left – DS). The pro-communist opposition had the support of just 27 per cent of PCI congress members, but since the protracted party transition (1989–91) had led to many communists simply exiting the PCI, they believed a communist refoundation movement had untapped potential (Daniels and Bull 1994; Weinberg 1995). Accordingly, in May 1991 the Party of Communist Refoundation was pitched broadly to ‘all those inspired by socialist values and Marxist thought’ (Hudson 2000: 98). This breadth worked; Rifondazione soon came to encompass various left traditions, from the PCI’s left wing (principally pro-Soviet Cossuttiani led by Armando Cossutta and left-leaning Eurocommunists), to much of the new left (Dunphy 2004: 88). In particular, the small Proletarian Democracy Party merged with Rifondazione in June 1991, bringing with it an anti-Soviet tradition strongly influenced by environmentalism, feminism, Trotskyism, Maoism and autonomism (a new left Marxism that emphasizes workers’ potential to transform capitalism independent of the state, trade unions or political parties).2 Soon, therefore, Rifondazione became something of a role model for the wider European radical left as a pluralist party that incorporated communist, libertarian, feminist, parliamentary and extra-parliamentary elements, thereby overcoming historical enmities and proposing a diverse, open, and non-dogmatic anticapitalism. Nevertheless, the heterogeneity of Rifondazione’s origins as the product of leaders/movements with independent power bases and resources, alongside a strong autonomist ethos, proved problematic in the longer term: having abandoned democratic centralism, the party proved fissiparous and hyper-democratic in its internal life, with party splits a constant threat and the leadership unable to impose its authority (Newell 2010). Indicatively, Rifondazione has never developed a party programme. Indeed, from the outset, Rifondazione has been marked by repeated splits between accommodationist tendencies, who (in tune with PCI traditions of ‘historic compromise’) wanted the party to act as a left social-democratic pressure on the PDS/DS, and non-accommodationists who saw the party as a permanent opposition with an anti-systemic and extra-parliamentary vocation (Galli 2001; Newell 2010). Under the leadership of Fausto Bertinotti (1994–2006), telegenic, mediafriendly but simultaneously articulating a radical social activism, Rifondazione gradually broke with the PCI’s moderate parliamentary traditions and positioned itself as an opposition ‘antagonist party’ acting as a ‘movement party’ articulating social issues (Bacetti 2003). These divisions led to a relatively minor split in 1994 (when a quarter of Rifondazione’s parliamentarians split to support the centre-right Dini government and formed the United Communists group). Far more damagingly, in 1998 the centre-left Prodi government fell after Rifondazione’s withdrawal of support during a vote of confidence. Consequently, the bulk of its parliamentarians (21 of 34) and its former President Cossutta formed the Party of Italian Communists (PdCI). The PdCI became a smaller, less radical party truer to the gradualism of Togliatti and Berlinguer, and critical of Rifondazione’s rapprochement with the

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Western European communists

Fourth International. It adopted a relatively moderate and pro-EU orientation as ‘left of the centre-left’ supporting coalition with the DS and eschewing the social movements (Dunphy 2004: 88–90). Nevertheless, the PdCI has always been as much a personalized party as an ideological one. In an indication that Soviet-era lines of demarcation are increasingly irrelevant, after a period of conflict between National Secretary Oliviero Diliberto and party President Cossutta, the latter left the PdCI in April 2007 and this former ‘Stalinist’ increasingly denounced communism, even announcing his vote for the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) before the June 2009 European elections. Under Diliberto, the PdCI increasingly saw itself as the guardian of Italian communist traditions, symbols and unity, supporting rapprochement and even merger with Rifondazione and in 2008 even restoring democratic centralism (L’Humanité 2008). For Rifondazione, the lasting legacy of its 1998 split was the loss of 20,995 members, including its most professionalized, accommodationist cadres, pushing it further in a policy seeking direction. Whilst it retained many grass-roots activists, the split: left behind those most sensitive to the idea of an oppositional vocation for the party, those for whom alliances were to be subordinate to programmatic questions and who looked at least as much to civil society as to the institutions as the preferred terrain of political contest (Albertazzi et al. 2007: 5). Significant disorientation was reflected in the party’s mere 4.3 per cent 1999 EU election vote, and a poor showing at the 2001 parliamentary election (Table 3.1). Rifondazione’s radicalism was more evident in the tactical than the ideological sphere – indeed its policy aims were relatively moderate, and Bertinotti even described them as ‘neo-Keynesian’ (e.g. Maitan 1999). These aims included: 1) a defence of the traditional spheres of state intervention (e.g. state education, healthcare and pensions), 2) an extension of ‘progressive’ reforms (e.g. full employment based on a 35-hour working week, progressive taxation, commitment to public ownership and an end to privatization), and 3) pressure on the DS to move further left (Hudson 2000: 105). Rifondazione’s attitude to EU integration has oscillated: less pro-integration than the old PCI but nevertheless supporting a ‘social’ Europe shorn of neo-liberal elements (such as infused the Lisbon Treaty) (Quaglia 2009). This rather minimalist platform reflected both the need to find common ground with the DS and considerable internal divisions. For instance, at its 2005 congress Rifondazione had five main tendencies: supporters of the Bertinotti leadership (59 per cent of delegates), those favouring the moderate Cossutta line (26 per cent), and three neo-Trotskyist tendencies that together accounted for some 15 per cent (Albertazzi et al. 2007: 10). The Trotskyists, though a minority, were vocally opposed to electoral alliance with the centre-left and any participation in political institutions. Simultaneously, the party’s antagonistic opposition was reflected in its emphasis on extra-parliamentary struggle. Throughout the 1990s, Rifondazione’s

8.8

30.6

9.2

5.6

9.2

3.4

4.5

1992 1993 1994

8.6

9.2

8.6

5.6

33.0

3.3

9.0

5.5

5.5

3.4 5.0

8.7

2.3 7.6

1.7

5.9

31.1

8.2

4.3

3.8

8.6

3.1c 7.9

7.5

2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

5.8 7.0

4.8

2002 2003

5.0

34.7

1998 1999 2000 2001

Notes § no elections in 2010/1 a as part of coalition with Synaspismos (Coalition of the Left) b not a ‘relevant’ party, but included for reasons of clarity c PRC and PdCI in coalition as Rainbow Alliance d in coalition as Democratic Unity Coalition (CDU) e in coalition as United Left in 2006–8 f in coalition as United Left (in 2004 and 2008 alongside Initiative for Catalonia Greens (ICV))

9.9

1995 1996 1997

Source: www.parties-and-elections.de. Data correct at 20 May 2011.

Cyprus (AKEL) France (PCF) Greece 10.3a (KKE) Italy (PRC) (PdCI)b Portugal (PCP)d San Marino (RCS)e Spain (PCE)f

1990 1991

Table 3.1 Relevant Western European communist parties in parliamentary elections, 1990–2011§

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Western European communists

self-image was as a principled opposition party at the vanguard of class struggle, defined broadly as the struggle of the ‘general class’ of exploited and expropriated workers (Baccetti 2003). It retained a working-class base, especially within the (formerly communist) CGIL trade union where party leaders Sergio Garavini (1991–4) and Bertinotti had earlier been activists, although it became increasingly a post-industrial party of students, white-collar employees and health workers. However, the party failed fully to stabilize its support either among blue-collar or white-collar strata (Massari and Parker 2000; Porcaro 2009). The party further flexed its extra-parliamentary muscle by spearheading opposition to NATO’s campaign in Yugoslavia in 1999, but it was only in 2001 that it found an exit route from its post-split slump. Rifondazione played a major part in anti-G8 protests in Genoa in July 2001. The killing of anti-globalist Carlo Giuliani by police during the protests radicalized and reinvigorated the radical left after their June election defeat by Silvio Berlusconi and Rifondazione led a popular outcry against heavy handed government tactics. In 2002 the party changed its strategic direction by joining the ‘movement of movements’ at the helm of the European GJM; simultaneously, with a campaign against Stalinist bureaucratism, the party sought to divest itself of the remaining negative PCI legacies (Rifondazione 2002). The turn to the movements was a logical continuity of the party’s founding orientation towards grass-roots politics, reinforced by its 1998 split, coinciding with the GJM catching the Zeitgeist, and simultaneously reinforcing Rifondazione’s image as one of the most innovative actors on the European radical left. However, the turn proved more problematic in the longer term. First, it alarmed those who perceived the increased influence of autonomist ideas – particularly those from Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s Empire (2000) – that denigrate the role of class and political party and raised the possibility of Rifondazione’s ‘liquidation’ within the social movements (Saccarelli 2004). Second, and more damagingly, it inflated activists’ expectations of their ability to pursue an independent and influential anti-capitalist opposition alongside the GJM but outside Italy’s political institutions. These expectations were confounded by Bertinotti’s decision to seek alliance with Romano Prodi’s new centre-left L’Unione coalition for the 2006 parliamentary elections (Bertinotti 2004). This decision showed that, however policy seeking Rifondazione had become, it had a pivotal position in the party system that did not allow it the luxury of avoiding vote/office-seeking strategies. In particular, the post-1993 electoral system for both houses of parliament (three-quarters majoritarian system and one-quarter multimember PR with a 4 per cent electoral threshold) gave strong incentives for small parties to join coalitions in order to win any seats (Hudson 2000: 103). Moreover, the DS regularly gained just 16–21 per cent of the vote relative to 21–29 per cent for Berlusconi’s populist/conservative Forza Italia, meaning that the radical and centre-left had the greatest need for alliance. Yet Rifondazione’s relations with the centre-left were fraught. In 1996–8, by mutual agreement, the party provided ‘critical support’ from outside to Prodi’s L’Ulivo coalition (with the aim of diverting it from a neo-liberal path). However,

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despite initially delaying welfare and pension cuts, social spending cuts as Italy prepared for the Euro proved the issue that split Rifondazione and brought down the government. The lesson was not lost on the Trotskyist left of the party for whom Prodi (particularly in his role as EU Commission President) merely aimed ‘to organize neo-liberalism in a slightly different way’ from Berlusconi (Corradi et al. 2006). Still, the logic of coalition proved unavoidable. The 2001 elections (when, having spurned alliance with L’Ulivo, Rifondazione performed poorly and Berlusconi won despite huge mass protests) indicated increasingly bipolar electoral competition and that voters rarely supported third-party candidates even in Rifondazione’s diminished but still important ‘red belt’ (Albertazzi et al. 2007).3 Furthermore, since state funding (allocated according to vote share) now provided two-thirds of party income and the ‘party on the ground’ had lost numbers and impact (Rifondazione long suffered from slowly dwindling membership and high turnover, in part because it requires that its members re-register annually) the role of the party in public and central office had increased. Altogether, these factors were powerful incentives towards an ‘electoral professional’ party, conflicting with its anti-system mass party image (ibid.). Finally, a 2005 revision to the electoral system introduced PR with a ‘majority premium’ for the largest coalition and increased the incentive for parties to field their candidates in coalitions without needing to agree on joint candidates. In these circumstances, for Rifondazione to run independently risked disaster: the decision to join L’Unione was all but inevitable (Newell 2010). Initially, this electoral turn paid dividends. In 2006, Rifondazione gained its best-ever seat shares in both Chamber of Deputies (41 of 630), and Senate (27 of 315 on a 7.2 per cent vote share). For the first time, two party members joined government (including Paolo Ferrero as Minister of Social Solidarity); Bertinotti became Speaker of the Chamber, being replaced as Rifondazione leader by former parliamentary fraction head Franco Giordano. Ultimately, however, gaining executive office proved a Faustian pact in more ways than one. The narrowness of L’Unione’s 2006 win (especially its two-seat majority in the Senate) meant that Rifondazione’s support was vital for the survival of the centre-left coalition. Moreover, with just 12 per cent of the coalition’s chamber seats, Rifondazione could not avoid sharing responsibility for unpalatable ‘anti-working class’ measures without the power to affect them. This was all the more so since the remaining eight coalition parties were markedly less radical, and L’Unione assumed office at the time of considerable economic difficulties that gave little scope for increased public spending (Newell 2010). The need to appease its ‘movementist’ left wing led to Rifondazione being part of government but apart from it (e.g. by demonstrating against or criticising sotto voce several government decisions). Key policies, such as supporting the renewal of the Italian troop presence in Afghanistan and the sending of troops to Lebanon caused strong internal criticism, and the Prodi government was seen as being closed to the social movements that Rifondazione claimed to defend (Porcaro 2009). However, the party leadership proved steadfastly loyal coalition members, fearing the consequences of bringing the government down. Yet they could not keep the party disciplined.

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Western European communists

The government fell temporarily in February 2007 when one of Rifondazione’s Trotskyist senators, Franco Turigliatto (who was swiftly expelled), and a PdCI senator declined to support its foreign policy. Ultimately, however, it was not the radical left but a small centrist party (UDEUR) who scuppered the government in January 2008 and prompted new elections that April. What ensued was a fiasco. Centre-left elements of L’Unione (principally DS and La Margherita – ‘Daisy’) had formed the new Democratic Party (PD) in 2007 order to move L’Unione towards a fully fledged party not hostage to minority elements. In 2008 the PD decided to run in a much narrower coalition, excluding the radical left, which immediately exposed Rifondazione to the electoral pressures it had sought so hard to avoid in 2006, but now facing a popular backlash against the Prodi government, amplified by the pro-Berlusconi media. The four main left-wing parties included in L’Unione but not the PD process (Rifondazione, the PdCI, the Federation of the Greens and a DS offshoot called Democratic Left) decided (in December 2007) to form an electoral coalition called ‘The Rainbow Left’ (SA). In April 2008, SA polled a catastrophic 3.1 per cent (down from the 10.2 per cent that its three main parties had got in 2006) and for the first time since World War Two there were no communists in parliament. SA failed because it had all the elements of a shotgun marriage, created topdown for electoral necessity (Porcaro 2009). Its strategy was little understood by its prospective voters (e.g. the loss of the hammer and sickle from the coalition’s symbols). Many traditional supporters either cast a ‘useful vote’ for PD against Berlusconi, abstained or voted for smaller extreme left parties (Newell 2010). Following its electoral defeat, Rifondazione underwent several debilitating splits. To cut a very convoluted story very short, in April 2008, the Bertinotti– Giordano leadership was heavily criticized and Party Secretary Giordano resigned under pressure from the party left (mainly the Trotskyists, former Cossutiani and ex-members of Proletarian Democracy led by Paolo Ferrero). At the July 2008 congress, in an indication of deep intra-party divisions, Ferrero narrowly beat Nichi Vendola, the leadership candidate of the Bertinottiani. Ferrero tilted the party to the left and restored its 2002–5 line, reaffirming the party’s communist identity and cooperation with trade unions and social movements, while rejecting any overtures towards the DP or ‘rainbow’ alliances (Rifondiazione 2008). Vendola and Giordano, who represented party modernizers supporting a more permanent united left with the Greens and non-communist left and pragmatic coalitions with the DP, quit Rifondazione in January 2009. Vendola then headed the Left and Liberty coalition (SL) alongside the Greens and smaller left groupuscules in order to overcome a newly introduced 4 per cent threshold for the June 2009 EU elections. In December 2009 SL became Left, Ecology, Liberty (SEL), but had by then suffered three splits (most significantly the exit of the Greens). The rump Rifondazione formed the Anticapitalist List alongside the PdCI and two smaller groupuscules in the run-up to the 2009 EU elections. This in turn became the Federation of the Left in December 2009. Although the radical left’s total vote increased in June 2009 relative to 2008 (to 6.4 per cent), each list got just over 3 percent and thus lost all their MEPs (some 17 in total).

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63

Unsurprisingly, the future for the Italian radical left looks very problematic. It is difficult to see how, given electoral arithmetic and increasing left–right polarization, two competing RLP lists are in any way sustainable – even united they would struggle. Furthermore, now outside the Italian parliament, they have lost some €38 million public funding (Newell 2010). Nevertheless, Nichi Vendola’s SEL coalition stands the best chance of recovering from the fiasco. Helped by Vendola’s popularity as Puglia regional governor, novel use of media technologies for grass-roots organization rooted in the social movements and an image of an antiestablishment post-communist ‘new politics’, SEL’s popularity had risen to over 8 per cent in polls by early 2011, enough perhaps to re-enter the Italian parliament. SEL is helped by the Democratic Party’s own divisions: Vendola beat the PD candidate in its own primary election to reclaim the governorship and by late 2010 headed the national polls for the PD national primaries, which that party had endorsed in order to select a candidate capable of drawing on increasing antiBerlusconi sentiment (Castellina 2010). Nevertheless, even SEL supporters admit that it lacks a stable party organization and that, since its popularity is overly dependent on Vendola’s charisma, it may prove evanescent. Be that as it may, Rifondazione’s Federation of the Left itself (polling at 2 per cent in early 2011) stands little chance of re-entering parliament independently. Overall, external electoral and party system factors explain much of Rifondazione’s demise: in particular the 2006 electoral laws were deliberately designed by the Berlusconi government to make a left-wing coalition unwieldy and fractious and in general electoral laws have put a high premium on office- and vote-seeking flexibility. In retrospect though, Rifondazione considerably exacerbated its own crisis. Its ability to ‘refound’ communism through strategic and tactical flexibility was long seen as an indication of its vitality. However, from its formation Rifondazione possessed an extra-parliamentary, movementist and hyper-democratic ethos that was only strengthened by the loss of the Cossuttiani in 1998 and the ‘turn to the movements’ in 2002. This ethos was an important element of the party’s ‘refounded’ identity but made it prone to internal fission and encouraged important minorities within the party to take an unaccommodating stance towards political compromise that increasingly conflicted with the office-seeking strategies imposed by its ‘electoral professional’ leadership. These contradictions were graphically shown in 2006–8, when office-seeking strategies were vital for the survival of the Unione coalition, but to the increasingly policyseeking membership it appeared as if Rifondazione was refounding communism out of existence. At the time of writing, the party appears to have done just that.

France: from mutation to destruction? As with the KKE, it took a change of leader to attempt any significant reform of the PCF, traditionally a conservative, even Stalinist, party. Internal dissent increased throughout the 1980s but was either suppressed under Georges Marchais’ incorrigibly orthodox leadership, or forced out of the party altogether (e.g. when PCF ‘renovator’ Pierre Juquin ran (unsuccessfully) against the PCF presidential

64

Western European communists

candidate André Lajoinie in 1988). The PCF looked set to mirror the KKE in largely ignoring the demise of the USSR, until Marchais (aged 74) stepped down following the disastrous 1994 European elections, when the party polled just 6.9 per cent (Bell and Criddle 1994). However, by the time Robert Hue replaced Marchais in December 1994, it was already a classic case of ‘too little, too late.’ The PCF had undergone nearly 20 years of decline in all facets of its activity and let slip myriad attempts to address the attrition of its social base, exacerbated by the passing of the resistance generation, decline of the working class and increased consumerism. On the contrary, Marchais had reinforced rather than severed the umbilical link with Moscow, strengthened democratic centralism and made no attempt to appeal to new groups, including the post-68 generation, women and second-generation immigrants (Knapp and Wright 2006). However, the post-Marchais leadership has also proved incapable of overcoming the crisis, and in addressing it has even exacerbated it. In 2007 the PCF polled worse than ever, just 1.9 per cent in the presidential contest, for the second consecutive time not meeting the 5 per cent threshold for reimbursement of its campaign expenses. Its 4.3 per cent in the following parliamentary elections (also a record low) posed (as so often in recent history) a very real question over its future existence. Yet Robert Hue’s mutation had promised to be so different. The party attempted to distance itself from Stalin and the Soviet Union (now globalement négatif, rather than positif, under Marchais) and made an attempt to find a French ‘nationally authentic socialism’, linked to the republican tradition: no longer ‘parti de l’étranger’, the PCF was ‘profondément français’ (Hue 1995: 46, 2001). The party belatedly Eurocommunized, rejecting revolution in favour of a peaceful and progressive evolution to a more just society (révolutionnement) (Knapp and Wright 2006: 185). It even rejected Marxism-Leninism as doctrinaire and opposed ‘to all bold and free thought’ (Hue 1995: 46) in favour of early Marxian humanism, although the word communism was to be maintained as an aspiration for a society ‘more humane, more honest, more just, and more free’ (Hue 1995: 11). The PCF sought to broaden its appeal beyond the working class to salaried workers (salariés), women and sexual minorities – a ‘united colours of communism’ according to Marc Lazar (in Andolfatto 2001: 216). Simultaneously it (re-)built bridges with the Socialist Party (PS) and achieved governmental office as part of the ‘plural left’ with the PS and Greens under PS leader Lionel Jospin in 1997–2002. However, this was barely a ‘refoundation’ as in Italy and was in many ways cosmetic. Indeed, the party’s vote stabilization in the mid-1990s owed more to Hue’s jovial, open image than to a lasting change in the PCF’s profile, although the party’s greater openness towards the plural left undoubtedly helped it capitalize on the unpopularity of the centre-right Juppé government in 1997 (Hudson 2000: 94). Several party institutions were reformed and renamed (e.g. party cells were replaced by ‘thematic networks’ open to society) but these changes tended to disorientate the party. There was little personnel turnover at the apex, despite the gradual marginalization of the ‘old guard’ (indeed Marchais remained on the national committee until his death in November 1997). The removal of

Western European communists

65

democratic centralism (December 1996) revealed a fundamentally very divided party; the leadership was confronted by refondateurs critical of rapprochement with the PS, who sought to ally the party with the extreme left and social movements in a new radical pole (many of these left in 2010, declaring the party unreformable); the orthodox camp was itself divided but dominant in the party apparatus and some party organizations (e.g. Pas-de-Calais). The conservatives coalesced around fidelity to Marchais-era dogmas, ‘really existing socialism’ and hostility to the PS and extreme left.4 The failure of the leadership to tackle its divisions head-on meant much effort was spent resolving intra-party tensions. Ultimately, Hue was Gorbachevian: too conciliatory and wedded to the institutions of the past to complete what was a genuine reformist intent (Buttin and Andolfatto 2002/3). The PCF faces a fundamental strategic dilemma: to put clear red water between it and a long-dominant (since 1977) PS which never fully embraced a Blairite ‘third way’ and periodically radicalizes for electoral reasons; Hue’s mutation risked dissolution into a vague leftist social democracy. Moreover, the two-round parliamentary electoral system makes the PCF dependent on the PS: ‘stand-down’ electoral agreements guarantee it parliamentary seats on which much of its little remaining national prestige (and funding) depends. It has long had little choice but to back the larger PS in the second round of presidential elections. The downside of this dependency was graphically shown in the 2002 and 2007 presidentials. The performance of the PCF’s two ministers in the 1997–2002 Jospin government was generally well-received. Nevertheless, the party could not escape the taint of being a very junior partner in a government that (despite some common achievements such as the 35-hour week) promoted issues that the PCF would normally have staunchly opposed; the PS government oversaw more privatizations than the last six governments combined, prepared for the Euro and supported the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia (Dunphy 2004: 102: Krivine 2006). Any PCF influence over government was hard to discern (Bell 2010). PS leader Jospin’s re-election campaign was poor, but Hue’s was little better: his hobnobbing with the elites at Cannes epitomized the PCF’s disorientation and disillusioned the radical electorate; his 3.4 per cent 2002 vote share was catastrophic. In 2007, the PCF was squeezed hard (as was the entire non-PS left) by the vote utile: the desire to vote for PS candidate Ségolene Royal in order to prevent her failing to make the second round (Jospin’s fate in 2002). Simultaneously, the electoral system has encouraged the proliferation of forces to the left of the PCF, which prevents it tacking too far to the centre. The two-ballot parliamentary system offers opportunities for candidates outside the control of major parties, whilst the provision of state funding to any party able to field at least 75 candidates at parliamentary elections is perhaps the single most important cause of the proliferation of parliamentary candidates since the 1980s (Knapp and Wright 2006). The French extreme left is the most vibrant in Europe (see Figure 3.1). Its 1990s growth is rooted in the long-standing French revolutionary tradition, pervasive economic malaise and anti-establishment sentiment and ‘years of patient work’ (Bell 2003: 80, 2006). The PCF’s sectarianism before the

66

Western European communists

1990s meant that, unlike the PCI, it failed to co-opt the extreme left, who can now trade freely on the PCF’s perceived de-radicalization. The principal threat to the PCF now comes not from the orthodox Trotskyist Lutte ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle) of Arlette Laguiller and Robert Hardy (which is secretive and sectarian), but the New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA), formed from the Ligue communiste révolutionaire (LCR) in 2009.5 The NPA has developed an increasingly pluralist, anti-establishment, social populist profile under its telegenic spokesman, the young postman Olivier Besancenot, who outperformed the PCF with over 4 per cent of the vote in both the 2002 and 2007 presidentials. The formation of the NPA showed the LCR moving increasingly beyond Trotskyism, as it argued for a ‘socialism of the twenty-first century’, a break with capitalism and noncooperation with both the PCF and PS (Liégard 2009). These extreme left parties have significant influence in the trade unions (particularly Force ouvrière, one of the largest with 800,000 members) and in the NPA’s case, in the social movements (especially via the union federation SUD-Solidaires, with 90,000 members and linked closely with the GJM). The PCF remains predominately a party of older, working-class males, but the extreme left increasingly challenges for votes of the young, the service sector and unemployed (Hildebrandt 2009b; Sperber 2010). As shown by Figure 3.1, the extreme left is ‘able to surprise, but also prone to collapse’ (Knapp and Wright 2006: 203). Many of its voters are not convinced Trotskyists, but those who use the extreme left to express their disappointment with other parties (acting especially as a significant ‘conscience of the left’) (Sperber 12

10

Percentage vote

PCF Extreme Left 8

6

4

2

Election (E = European, L = Legislative, P = Presidential). Source: www.france-politique.fr

Figure 3.1 The PCF and extreme left in French elections 1989–2009

2009E

2007L

2007P

2004E

2002L

2002P

1999E

1997L

1995P

1994E

1993L

1989E

0

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67

2010). Despite its diminishing vote share, the PCF retains a history, national infrastructure, governing experience and elected representatives at all levels that the extreme left, with small memberships (perhaps 12,000 between them against the PCF’s claimed 135,000), a disdain for electoral politics and a congenital inability to unite, do not. Nevertheless, the PCF’s continued decline has placed even these assets in doubt. The PCF faces three basic strategic options (Bell 2004; cf. Grunberg 2003) short of a party split or merger with the PS: 1) hard-line workerist militancy based on revitalized work in the trade unions, risking a split with the PS and competition from the extreme left; 2) federating the anti-capitalist, eco-socialist and social movement ‘alternative left’, which would mean jettisoning the communist heritage in favour of a ‘new left’ identity as well as the risks of the previous option; 3) repositioning as a moderate left reformist ally of the PS, meaning acceptance of a permanent junior role and a potential loss of clear identity. All three strategies present problems: the latter two in particular would involve some measure of party refoundation. However, it is the PCF’s inability to choose decisively any consistent strategy that has been most damaging – partly for internal reasons and partly wishing to keep its options open, the party oscillates between options and remains capable neither of leading nor uniting the left (Bell 2010). After Hue’s retirement in 2003, the new party leader Marie-George Buffet sought to reverse some aspects of mutation with increased criticism of the PS and emphasis on defence of jobs and public services. Later, the PCF moved towards the anti-capitalist option, seeking to form an ‘anti-liberal left’ alongside the LCR and the anti-globalization farmer José Bové (Andolfatto 2004/5). The success of the ‘No’ campaign against the proposed EU constitutional treaty in 2005, followed by the successful 2006 demonstrations against the First Employment Contract (CPE) (aimed at creating more flexible labour laws) indicated that a broad anti-capitalist and Eurosceptic alliance was viable for the 2007 presidentials.6 However, a significant part of the ‘No’ campaign had come from PS voters, who would hardly desert their party in the prospect of a right-wing victory. Moreover, any potential for an alternative left disappeared with the failure to agree on a common anti-capitalist presidential candidate, with the three Trotskyist parties, Bové and Buffet eventually competing – divergent attitudes to the PS were a factor, alongside the PCF’s attempt to dominate the coalition. Only Besancenot (with a fall in vote share from 4.25 to 4.08 per cent, but an increase in votes by 290,000) emerged from this fatal splintering relatively unscathed. In contrast, Buffet’s anti-capitalist campaign fell between three stools: not sufficiently antiestablishment or dynamic to compete with Besancenot, not sufficiently communist for the traditional PCF electorate and finally not possessing sufficient authority to unite the radical left (Virot 2007). After its 2007 presidential nadir, the PCF did partially recover. Although at the 2007 parliamentary contest it fell short of the 20 deputies required for a group in the Assemblée for the first time since 1958, it made up the numbers with the help of the Greens and other left-wing deputies. It was then further helped by discord within its competitors. The PCF’s December 2008 congress critiqued its

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Western European communists

previous alliance strategy and called for a maximally broad left front for the 2009 European elections to fight the ‘Europe of the Lisbon Treaty’, eventually forming the Left Front alongside the Left Party (PG) and Unitarian Left (GU). The PG is a left-wing split from the socialists headed by former Eurosceptic socialist senator Jean-Luc Mélenchon, which was formed when the PS left was defeated at its Reims congress in November 2008. The GU originated as a faction within the NPA who disagreed with that party’s refusal to ally with the PCF for the EU elections. Indeed, the extreme left once again flattered to deceive; it failed to get any Assemblée seats in 2007, while the Left Front outperformed the NPA in the 2009 EU elections. It gained 6.47 per cent and 5 MEPs (improving the PCF’s 2004 result by 0.59 per cent and 3 MEPs) while the NPA received 4.98 per cent and no MEPs, failing to capitalize on Besancenot’s high national approval ratings. The Front’s surprise result was attributed to a better-organized and more positive campaign. However, it was the Greens’ Europe Écologie list which exploited socialist weakness most, gaining almost as many votes as the PS (16.3 per cent) with a platform strongly orientated towards social protection (Europe Écologie 2009). Nevertheless, the Left Front’s 2009 result was deemed successful enough to continue the alliance, and marks the PCF’s turn towards a more ideologically moderate post-communist party along the lines of the German LP. Indeed the new PCF leader from June 2010, Pierre Laurent, has repeatedly enthusiastically endorsed the Front (Laurent 2011). After a passable performance in the 2010 regional elections (weakened by a lack of first-round agreement with the PS), the Front performed adequately at the 2011 cantonal elections, gaining 9 per cent and beating Europe Écologie into fifth. The Left Front project has reasonable prospects, not least because the PS (internally divided, having lost three presidential elections in a row and outperforming the Greens by just 0.2 per cent in 2009, although recovering somewhat in the 2010–1 elections) is in a similar state to the German SPD. This gives a major opportunity to exploit President Sarkozy’s declining popularity for a force that can unite groups to the left of social democracy. However, unlike the rapid dissolution of the German Party of Democratic Socialism into the German LP, the precise place of the PCF within the Left Front coalition has not been resolved. While Mélenchon aspires to found a new party, many communists reject the ‘disappearance of the PCF’ and coalition negotiations have been tortuous (Alemagna 2010). Moreover, although by 2011 Mélenchon’s national popularity had eclipsed that of Besancenot, overall the Front lacks charismatic leadership, like the Bisky–Lafontaine axis that drove the formation of the LP. At the time of writing (early 2011), it seems that the PCF may agree to back Mélenchon as its 2012 presidential candidate, which will allow the Front to reach a new level of development (for discussion see Laurent 2011). However, Mélenchon’s relatively idiosyncratic positions (for instance, unlike the PCF, he supported the 2011 military intervention in Libya) are likely to provoke frictions. Finally, the Left Front is a classic ‘political latecomer’ entering an alreadycrowded electoral scene. Although the NPA was weakened by its 2009 results and lost influence owing to internal divisions and sectarianism thereafter, it still has

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in Besancenot a charismatic, nationally-recognized figurehead (Gauche Unitaire 2011). But perhaps the biggest challenger will be Marine Le Pen, who replaced her father Jean-Marie as head of the extreme right Front National in January 2011 and offers a media-friendly and ostensibly respectable right-wing populism (Crumley 2011). The FN polled third (with 15 per cent) in the March 2011 cantonal elections and Le Pen even topped the Presidential polls in early 2011. This gives her an excellent chance of continuing her father’s tradition of poaching the PCF’s ‘gaucho-lepéniste’ voters (cf. Mayer 1999).

Different routes to the same destination? ‘Communism can break but cannot bend’ argues David Bell, highlighting its intrinsic conservatism and anti-reformism (2004: 33). This is an exaggeration, especially because, as these party examples demonstrate, communism is increasingly eclectic and diverse, and no such thing as ‘orthodox’ communism even exists now. Clearly, the KKE, with its conservative communist identity, little changed from its Soviet-era Stalinist profile except in the direction of populist anti-capitalism and with a revolutionary, anti-system stance, is the closest to a classical Marxist-Leninist party. However, Rifondazione (especially) and the PCF are reformist communists who have disavowed their Stalinist and Leninist heritage in search of a new Marxism, and increasingly adopted new left agendas, trying to appeal to post-materialist values and higher-educated, more middle-class and younger electorates (cf. Marantzidis 2003/4). Nevertheless, Bell’s observation is true in general terms. None of the CPs studied here has proved able to recapture their pre-1989 electoral and social support levels, and each still suffers from the residue of earlier crises, including a dependence on older social strata, declining ‘red belts’, and perhaps more significantly, a strongly policy-seeking identity with internal strategic and identity dilemmas that have their origins in the pre-1989 era and have prevented flexible adaptation to electoral environments. The ‘unbendability’ of communism is shown above all by the KKE, which shows a stubborn resilience precisely because it has barely changed. The party has turned potential deficits into strengths: the conservatives (always strong in the party) managed to control the intra-party transition and restore the party’s ‘heroic, usable past’; Soviet-era ‘portable skills’ proved useful: the conservatives used traditional discipline to purge their opposition and have maintained a consolidated hold on the party organization which has barely been shaken. The KKE’s strategy, demonstrating a ‘deeply ingrained sense of self-preservation and ideological purity’ (Kalyvas and Marantzidis 2003: 689) is unlikely to be very successful elsewhere in Western Europe. It is much helped by propitious external conditions: no prospect of electoral coalition, a weak and divided democratic socialist competitor and widespread socio-economic dissatisfaction. These conditions often apply in Eastern Europe (as the next chapter shows), but in the West even the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), which maintains a Marxist-Leninist ideological profile only slightly less hidebound than the KKE, has found its position increasingly

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threatened by the Left Bloc, a democratic socialist party which is far more united than SYN (and which will be described in Chapter 5). In contrast, Rifondazione is far from simply a traditionalist communist successor to the PCI; in fact it only partially relies on the PCI’s usable past, with its new left and ‘anti-globalization’ profile gaining it extra support and an image as an innovator (albeit these gains were lost by 2010 as the party ultimately failed to synthesize the PCI’s Berlinguerian traditions of historic compromise with the autonomist and ‘movementist’ aspirations of many members). However, as Bull (1994) noted, the prospect of ‘refounding’ communism is highly problematic, above all raising the problem of moving from a palaeo-communism to a pale communism little distinguishable from left-wing social democracy. Indeed, Rifondazione and the PCF appear increasingly deradicalized and now talk vaguely about ‘overcoming’ (superamento) or ‘to surpass’ (dépasser) capitalism. Although maintaining some ideological animus towards social democracy and loyalty to extra-parliamentary methods, their parliamentary dependency on the centre-left has meant that they are no longer anti-systemic parties in any real sense (the proclivities of a significant minority within each party notwithstanding). Indeed, Rifondazione long grappled with the problem of defending or transcending its communist identity and the party split on exactly these lines in 2008, as the majority of members baulked at dissolving the party within a wider coalition (leaving its offshoot SEL to develop an explicitly post-communist orientation). Rifondazione never resolved the debate between the accommodationist and non-accommodationist wings present at its outset; the party’s founding moment created a pluralist and decentralized organization that the leaders were never able to effectively centralize, and which was prone to splits and fragmentation at critical points. Moreover, party system dynamics provided a debilitating ‘external shock’ to the party, forcing it into a vote-seeking coalition in 2006 even as the internal party dynamics were moving it in a policy seeking direction orientated to extra-parliamentary politics. Ultimately, the party’s attempts to have one foot in and one out of government proved disastrously incoherent. The external pressures might have damaged even a large, united party, but by 2006 Rifondazione was nothing close. The PCF has suffered similar though less intense pressures. It too has faced the prospect of dissolving the party in broader left alliances, of forced cooperation with the centre-left, and compromise in government, and its electoral strength has also suffered significantly. However, its adoption of reform communism was always more hesitant than Rifondazione’s, with greater continuity in ideological and organizational terms. This continuity has proved problematic in terms of pre-empting and lastingly reversing the party’s decline; however, it has allowed it to evolve less precipitately, and to survive better a negative experience of coalition. It has reduced the threat of internal disruption from the extreme left that confronts Rifondazione; although as a result, the extreme left’s external electoral threat is far greater for the PCF, this party still maintains an organizational backbone which limits this threat. Some of the patterns identified in this chapter can be extrapolated more widely. As Table 3.1 shows, in Western Europe, only AKEL in Cyprus has managed to

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increase its vote since 1989. As we identified in the previous chapter, this party was already distinct before 1989 in its espousal of moderate, flexible, cross-class policies. AKEL has continued this line, combining its Soviet-era usable past and portable skills (a militant workerist subculture, and cast-iron discipline) with continued cadre renewal, ideological moderation and cross-class strategies (for example by backing centrist Tassos Papadopoulos as president in 2003) (e.g. Dunphy and Bale 2007). AKEL thus survived internal disputes in the late 1980s and even joined the governing coalition after 2003. The election of its General Secretary, Dimitris Christofias as president in 2008 marked the advent to office of the first government actually dominated by AKEL. AKEL demonstrates the virtues of reforming communism from a position of strength, whilst keeping tight centralization of the organizational reins. Yet AKEL is the exception that proves the rule. Of all other Western communists, only the PCI possessed similar strength in the 1980s, but by then its encapsulation of the working class, internal discipline, not to mention the Leninist proclivities of its leaders, were far weaker than AKEL’s, making a similarly successful ‘reformist communist’ outcome unlikely. The more common pattern is for loyalty to communism (conservative or reformist) to become a road to nowhere. As Table 3.1 shows, CPs are now relevant in very few West European countries indeed. Those relevant parties we have not examined confront similar external and internal dilemmas. For example, although once the pioneering Eurocommunist party, the Spanish PCE had succumbed to a debilitating crisis by the end of the 1990s, in part because the party was unable to overcome its traditionally sectarian strategies towards both its electoral coalition (the United Left, IU) and the centre-left Socialists. By the 2000 elections this resulted in the PCE remaining the only significant party remaining in the IU, and being deprived of allies in the wider party system (Ramiro-Fernández 2005; Chari 2005). As the KKE demonstrates, CP successes have often come more from changes in the external environment (particularly the articulation of the protest vote and disillusion with the centre-left) than from internal party innovation, which remains hesitant and contested. Continuing internal divisions, particularly over participation in government, ageing and declining subcultures and organizational conservatism, has left many communists exposed to other pretenders to their protest niche: a point the PCF demonstrates most graphically. Overall, although Hudson (2000) saw the communists as the nucleus of her New European Left, their contemporary position (AKEL aside), rather looks precarious not just in comparison with their Soviet-era performance but also in view of their current electoral and organizational strength and strategic dilemmas. One would not bet against them still maintaining niches in the party system into the medium-term future, especially if external conditions are propitious. Nevertheless, the communist heritage still appears more an obstacle to, than a facilitator of, the sustained and lasting renewal of West European radical left parties.

4

The fall and (partial) rise of the Eastern European communists

Since 1991, communist parties have appeared far more viable in Eastern than Western Europe. CPs have been among the largest and most consistently electorally successful parties in a number of countries. For instance, on several occasions CPs in Russia and Ukraine have possessed the largest national parliamentary caucuses and produced competitive presidential electoral challengers. Moreover, the Moldovan communists can claim to be the most electorally successful European communists ever, four times dominating the national executive elections with over 40 per cent of the vote (2001, 2005, April and July 2009). These are results that the Western communists (AKEL excepted) can now just dream of. This chapter further concentrates on three parties, the Czech Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM), the Party of the Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF). The former is the most significant CP in east-central Europe, the latter two the most significant in the former Soviet Union (FSU). These three cases further illustrate that ‘orthodox’ communism no longer exists: the three are commonly seen as unreconstructed, but have actually developed very divergent ideological profiles and trajectories. In the Introduction, I outlined a distinction between ‘reformist’ and ‘conservative’ communists. These three parties demonstrate the need for flexibility with this distinction. The KPRF is the most obviously conservative and ‘extreme left’ in its appropriation of a Stalinoid nationalistic ‘state patriotism’, although it no longer sees itself as a revolutionary party. The KSČM is also relatively uncritical towards the Soviet (even Stalinist) heritage, but no longer sees itself as a Marxist-Leninist party and its ‘neo-communist’ wing aspires to move it in a more democratic socialist direction. The PCRM is still organizationally (and arguably, culturally) a Leninist party, but has pursued the most ideologically ‘reformist’, pragmatic and office-seeking strategy, moving increasingly in a social democratic direction but lacking any real ideological consistency. Electorally, their paths are equally divergent: the KSČM has remained both politically isolated but relatively stable within the Czech party system. The KPRF gained early success with a broad alliance-building strategy, but has since undergone inexorable decline. The PCRM’s stellar success ended in 2009–10 as it lost repeat elections and went into opposition. Overall, despite their divergent

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trajectories and greater support base, the Eastern communists face similar problems to their Western counterparts in terms of guaranteeing a long-term stability that is not dependent on propitious external circumstances and a reliance on the protest vote.

Explaining Eastern ‘success’ As is clear from Table 4.1, although several Eastern CPs are far stronger than their Western European counterpoints, their overall performance is similarly patchy; although miniscule groupuscules exist in almost all countries, CPs are relevant in relatively few and virtually absent as significant forces in many (above all eastcentral and south-eastern Europe). Why has this occurred? In general, the relative success of the left (radical or otherwise) further east is ‘eminently explainable’ given certain electoral and party-system opportunities that only exist behind the former Iron Curtain (Hough 2003: 2). For instance, the socio-economic problems of ‘transition’ from Soviet command economies (rising unemployment, inflation and perceived personal and social insecurity) and the persistence of a ‘socialist value culture’ showing strong support for state welfarism were the matrix for the revival of the East European left in the 1990s (e.g. Mahr and Nagle 1995; Christensen 1998). As the following chapters show, these are also fertile grounds for social populist parties. Nostalgia for the Soviet era is also prevalent. This rarely indicates attachment to Marxism-Leninism (still less Stalin) but rather a retrospective re-evaluation of the stability, universalism and paternalism of the communist state, judged against poorly performing new democracies (initially at least), which were often marked by escalation in corruption, crime, social stratification and ethnic tension. In the FSU, greater economic devastation in the 1990s (sometimes involving a loss of over 50 per cent of GDP) often recalled ‘collapse’ rather than ‘transition’ or ‘progress’ (Cohen 2001). Particularly given the poor leadership skills of many new ‘democrats’, often hailing from the intelligentsia and with little governing experience, these were propitious conditions for former ruling successor parties to demonstrate their portable skills which helped them rebound to influence. Such skills included a culture of disciplined ‘organizational communism’, managerial experience and personal and financial networks, especially within the former party elite (Zubek 1995; Grzymała-Busse 2002). The principal reason for the patchy performance of the radical left in Eastern Europe is simply that many of the most successful successor parties (in terms both of vote share and governmental participation) have been non-radical centre-left parties such as the Hungarian Socialist Party or the Polish Democratic Left Alliance. These parties joined the Socialist International and have been consistent proponents of privatization and integration into Euro-Atlantic political and economic structures. One of the most persuasive accounts for successor party strategy is the type of communist legacy which strongly affects both the external party system constraints and the balance of factions within each party. For instance, Kitschelt

1991

0.8

14.0a

1992

12.4

24.7

30.1

14.2b

11.0

1997 1998

12.7

10.3

1996

2.8

22.3

5.6

1995

2.7

1993 1994

24.3

1999

50.1

2000 2001

20.0

6.3

19.1b

18.5

2002

12.6

2003

2004

2005

3.7

3.9

46.0

14.4c

12.8

5.4

11.6

2006 2007

Notes § no elections to date in 2011 a part of ‘Left Bloc’ coalition b part of coalition ‘For Human Rights in United Latvia’ c part of coalition ‘Harmony Centre’.

Source: www.parties-and-elections.de, http://www.volbysr.sk/nrsr2010/sr/tab3_en.html (accessed 15 April 2011). Data correct at 20 May 2011.

Russia (KPRF) Slovakia (KSS) Ukraine (KPU)

Czech 13.2 Republic (KSČM) Latvia (LSP) Moldova (PCRM)

1990

Table 4.1 Relevant East European communist parties in parliamentary elections, 1990–2011§ 2010

26.0c

11.3

0.8

49.5 (April) 44.7 39.3 (July)

2008 2009

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et al. (1999) identify three ideal-typical legacies: ‘national-accommodative’, ‘patrimonial’ and ‘bureaucratic-authoritarian’ communisms. National-accommodative communism existed where communism was imposed forcibly, had weak domestic legitimacy and incomplete domination of civil society and so sought to rule more by co-optation than repression (e.g. Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and the Baltic states). Owing to their lack of legitimacy, national-accommodative parties had strong reformist cadres who dominated party transformation and quickly renounced Leninism. Because of the less repressive nature of the preceding regime, these successor parties faced stronger electoral opposition from the outset, incentivising them further in a post-Leninist direction. ‘Bureaucratic-authoritarian’ regimes (Czechoslovakia and the GDR) existed when communism grafted itself onto developed industrial societies with strong pre-existing socialist and democratic traditions. Here, the regimes developed centralized, authoritarian bureaucracies deeply implanted in working-class constituencies, but also faced resilient democratic opponents, resulting in highly repressive and conservative party states. So reform-averse that they were unable either to negotiate with opponents or take pre-emptive measures to preserve their positions, these party-states ultimately imploded in the face of popular opposition. As we shall see with the KSČM, bureaucratic-authoritarian successor parties tend to remain both conservative and marginal in the post-communist era – a reformaverse past provided few portable skills useful in a party system where democratic opponents were already popular and well organized in the 1990s. The final relevant legacy is that of ‘patrimonial communism’ (in most of the FSU, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria). Here, communism arose in historically underdeveloped agricultural countries with weak democratic traditions. The regimes adapted traditionally hierarchical social structures and patronage networks to ‘entrench’ themselves in the political system. With greater domestic legitimacy than national-accommodative communists but weaker opposition than faced the bureaucratic-authoritarians, the successor parties had weak reformist tendencies. Early in the post-Soviet era, these parties only partially liberalized, only partially discarded Leninism and developed in nationalist/populist directions which both appealed to a strong usable past and preserved closed Soviet-era elite networks. For instance, the social populist tinge of successor parties in Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria in the 1990s is partially explicable because of their role as patronage groups for former regime insiders. In the FSU, most CPs remain ‘steeped in the mythology of Soviet development’ (Wilson 2002: 23), and have proved hesitant to discard Marxist-Leninism, but even they are tempted by a ‘national communism’ reminiscent of Stalin’s ‘socialism in one country’. Communism is perceived less as an abstract theory than an indigenous tradition, associated with patriotic achievements (Soviet welfarism, World War Two military victory and the USSR’s superpower status). Clearly, legacy only explains so much, particularly as the Soviet era recedes into history. But it is evident that the strength of the parties we will examine owes much to historical legacy: on the most basic level, they inherited an ideological blueprint, recognizable identities, mass memberships and electoral constituencies

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that dwarfed other competitors during the 1990s, and even (as with West European communists), ‘red belts’ where their support was particularly entrenched, such as Russia’s agricultural south-west or the Moldovan cities of Comrat and Bălţi, where the PCRM articulated Russophone protest. Moreover, as the KSČM will show, this legacy is not uniformly advantageous. Furthermore, in many ex-patrimonial communist systems, successor parties did not monopolize communist-era political capital, which was distributed across the political system. For instance, in the wake of the abortive August 1991 coup by Soviet hardliners against Mikhail Gorbachev, the Communist Party was banned in every Soviet republic. Nearly universally, elements of the former CPSU elite (nomenklatura) used the ban to appropriate the bulk of its property and resources. So when the bans were later repealed, communist parties often confronted a formidable array of elite financial and administrative obstacles, particularly in the more autocratic states. For example in Belarus (often dubbed ‘Europe’s last dictatorship’), the Lukashenka administration helped split the opposition Party of Communists of Belarus in 1996 by forming the pro-Lukashenka Communist Party of Belarus. In general, it is a cardinal challenge for each CP to develop a long-lasting appeal reliant on more than simply their Soviet-era political capital. Finally, the trajectories of many Eastern CPs often owe much to contingent decisions or institutional-legal constraints. As we noted above, in several states, such as Albania and the Baltics, CPs are still illegal or subject to repression. For example, the successor to the Communist Party of Latvia (LKP) became the Socialist Party of Latvia (LSP). Yet this identity is a legally enforced alias, and the party is essentially still communist, celebrating Soviet-era holidays and declaring its aim to ‘preserve the Marxist idea in the form of a political organisation’ (LSP 2011). Essentially, the LSP remains a communist party, with most programmatic positions and international alliances similar to the conservative communists. Its leader, Alfreds Rubiks, the former LKP head implicated in an abortive pro-Moscow coup in January 1991, is forbidden from running for national electoral office.1 Moreover, parliamentary thresholds tend to be more common in Eastern than Western Europe. These have excluded from national legislatures some smaller parties with a large extra-parliamentary existence (principally, the Hungarian Workers’ Party (Munkáspárt) which gained four per cent of votes but no seats in 1998). In some cases (e.g. Bulgaria, Serbia) CPs have gained seats only by joining larger electoral coalitions. For instance, the Yugoslav Left (JUL) was a coalition of 23 minor RLPs running in coalition with the Serbian Socialist Party in the 1990s headed by Mira Marković, the wife of Slobodan Milošević.2 As we look now at three very divergent trajectories of the largest Eastern European communists, we will need to qualify communist ‘success’ still further.

The KSČM: from victor to victim?3 The aforementioned ‘bureaucratic-authoritarian’ communist legacy explains much of the KSČM’s unique position as east-central Europe’s only relevant CP. The former ruling Czechoslovak Communist Party (KSČ) was one of the strongest

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in inter- and post-war Europe. The KSČM’s contemporary electoral base correlates closely with the KSČ’s 1946 constituencies, and its large mass membership even made it the biggest party in post-communist east-central Europe until the late 1990s, with the greatest claim to be a genuine mass party, albeit the party has little broader influence in the trade unions or civil society and its membership has declined at 6–7 per cent annually.4 Nevertheless, the KSČM’s evolution is also a textbook case of unpropitious leadership decisions during its ‘formative moments’. After the Soviet suppression of the 1968 Prague Spring, ‘normalization’ meant ‘a total suppression of reformist efforts and a triumph of fossilized dogmas’ (Strmiska 2002: 222). In November 1989, facing popular unrest, the KSČ leadership was paralyzed and simply abandoned power. There was major leadership turnover in the ensuing months. Czech communists relaunched themselves as the KSČM, which was headed from October 1990 by Jiří Svoboda (formerly a rank and file KSČ member not tarnished by its leadership policies). However, the leadership lacked the portable skills necessary to centralize their organization, break early and decisively with the past and to overhaul the party’s profile (Grzymała-Busse 2002). From 1990–1993 there was hesitant movement in a democratic socialist direction, emphasising continuity with 1968’s ‘socialism with a human face’ and the ‘socialist mass party’ traditions destroyed by ‘normalization’, but accepting parliamentary pluralism and denouncing Stalinism’s abuse of human rights. The accent on the ‘socialist mass’ activist base was to prove problematic. The leaders saw themselves as resurrecting suppressed participative traditions, and the KSČM’s large membership (alongside some of the KSČ’s former property) provided it with resources that its competitors lacked. However, without a clear rupture with the KSČ, in 1990–2 the KSČM became the arena for many former communists to recommence their political activity. This fostered the dominance of conservative ‘normalizers’ who voted by a three-quarters majority against Svoboda’s proposals to change the party’s name, ideology and programme. It’s possible that they had little choice, as the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) had already occupied the centre-left niche in the party spectrum. However, Grzymała-Busse (2002: 194–5) argues that the ČSSD was extremely weak until 1993 and that consequently the KSČM did have a genuine opportunity to reform. Nevertheless, the opportunity was squandered and Svoboda and most reformists left the KSČM (many joined the ČSSD during 1993). In the longer term, the accent on an ageing membership prevented major policy adaptation, and posed increasing resource and mobilization problems. Today, the party is among the oldest of all European RLPs – 70 per cent of its members are over seventy and only 7.9 per cent have joined since 1991 (Holubec 2010). Moreover, only belatedly and partially did the KSČM restore elements of democratic centralism after 1993 (including abolishing party platforms). It has accordingly been forced to pursue an introverted, policy seeking strategy to assuage the anti-regime sentiments of its membership. Indeed the KSČM can be regarded as a ‘subcultural party’, socially isolated and concentrating on providing identity and networks for its supporters rather than broadening its electorate (Hanley 2002b).

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Most damagingly, the KSČM’s self-chosen niche position allowed the once marginal ČSSD to gain office in 1996, dominating the left and capturing votes of transition ‘losers’ that might otherwise have supported the communist successor party. Although the KSČM is often seen as a dogmatic dinosaur, in symbols and (some) programmatic content it is less orthodox than the Moldovan and Russian communists, who still profess Marxism-Leninism and employ the hammer and sickle (the KSČM’s symbols combine the KSČ’s red star with two red cherries). Instead, the KSČM describes itself as a Marxist but not Leninist party. The most reactionary wing headed by former KSČ leader Miroslav Štepan left in 1995 and refounded the KSČ; this party generally does not compete in elections and the KSČM regards it as a ‘provocation’ (KSČM 2003). Moreover, the KSČM’s documents show a commitment to a participative and pluralistic socialism. Democracy is seen not ‘as a fashionable slogan but as a categorical demand’ (KSČM 2007), and this demand is buttressed by numerous references to once scorned workers’ self-management (samospráva) and direct democracy, although the early 1990s references to ‘democratic socialism’ have been replaced by a ‘modern socialism’ for the sake of conservatives. This socialism is envisioned as a systemic alternative to capitalism. Although the KSČM supports the market economy (including small and medium business) and limited privatization, this economy would be based on forms of social ownership (cooperative and shareholding) and controls over foreign investment. The party’s ‘nationally authentic socialism’ is expressed through nationalism, exploiting historical anti-German resentments and anti-Americanism (particularly regarding NATO, from which the KSČM seeks to withdraw). For example, the party has gained support in areas of former German Sudetenland and has been a staunch opponent of repealing the Beneš decrees (which authorized the expulsion in 1945–47 of Czechoslovak Germans) and of German property restitution. It has (like the KPRF and PCRM) sought to defend national culture and (like the KPRF) railed against Westernization and American influences. The party’s Euroscepticism has nationalist and socialist motivations: it seeks selective integration to improve social and labour conditions (e.g. by adopting the EU Social Charter), but seeks to maintain national sovereignty in key areas (e.g. by protecting national economic producers) (KSČM 1999). The KSČM is internally divided. ‘Neo-communists’ are more critical of the communist past, orientate themselves towards non-communist RLPs such as the German LP and have a more constructive approach to the EU. ‘Conservatives’ look to the Chinese and Russian communists and see the EU as a ‘neo-liberal plot’ (Handl 2005). The leadership arbitrates between the two streams and the balance periodically shifts, although the conservatives, allied to the majority of nostalgic traditionalists (including Leninists and Stalinists) have tended to dominate in a ‘leftist-retreat coalition’ that seeks to reinforce traditional identity and discourse. Symptomatically, the KSČM’s small youth wing (c. 600 people) the Communist Youth Union (KSM) is Stalinoid (and does use the hammer and sickle); its profile has been embarrassing to the party leadership, and it has certainly limited the

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KSČM’s appeal to social movements, weak in the Czech Republic in any case. The KSM was banned by the Interior Ministry between 2006 and 2010 because of its statutes’ commitment to ‘revolutionary overthrow’ of capitalism (later amended to ‘revolutionary transformation’) in a decision many saw as politically motivated given both the KSM’s lack of influence and that several extreme right groups simultaneously operated unhindered (Richter 2010). Irrespective of its policy nuances, the KSČM has failed fully to confront its repressive past. Its former leader Miroslav Grebeníček (1993–2005), the son of a former secret police interrogator, symbolized the party’s ‘unreformed’ reputation, while a disproportionate number of party members are former army officers and policemen. Party documents were ‘evasive and euphemistic’, for example portraying the collapse of communism as the result of ‘bureaucratic deformations’ (Hanley 2002b: 153; Balík 2005). Grebeníček was hesitant to ascribe any positive impact to the Prague Spring and regarded pre-1989 communism as preferable to the contemporary polity (Grebeníček 2005). To many, the party appears ‘dualfaced’, with its internal materials much more traditionalist and nostalgic than the relatively ‘democratic’ socialism it presents to the outside world (Hloušek and Kopeček 2010). Moreover, the party’s policy adaptation has not been enough to prevent it relying heavily on the protest vote (although an effective presence in local government helped it electorally). Having performed strongly in the 2000 regional elections (21 per cent of the vote) the KSČM gained its best ever result in the lower house Chamber of Deputies (18.5 per cent, 41 of 200 seats and 230,000 extra votes) in June 2002, reinforcing its position as the third national party. It even bounded to second place with 20.3 per cent and 6 of 24 seats in the 2004 EP elections. Nevertheless, turnout was low in both regional and EP elections, and party success owed less to its own efforts than to public disaffection with the ‘political drift and cartellike behaviour’ of the governing Social Democrats (then supported by the rightwing Civic Democrats in an ‘opposition agreement’) and to the disintegration of the xenophobic extreme right Republican Party (Hanley 2002a: 2). Indeed, the KSČM appeared to suffer an electoral success shock; success increased internal friction and the party could not capitalize on its breakthrough. With the recovery of the ČSSD in 2006 the KSČM lost the extra votes it had gained in 2002, and amidst much internal recrimination was reduced to 26 seats. A partial recovery to 14.2 per cent in the 2009 EP elections still meant the loss of two MEPs. Czech formal electoral laws have not especially harmed the KSČM; the Chamber of Deputies has a PR system with a 5 per cent threshold that the party has easily surpassed, although it does poorly in the two-round majority system for the upper house (Senate), with just 3 of 81 Senators in 2010. Indeed, the party has become increasingly dependent on state funding (based on electoral results and parliamentary seats) as its membership has declined. However, the party has been the victim of an informal conventio ad excludendum as once was the Italian PCI. The legacy of normalization, the nature of the KSČ’s demise (ruling party implosion generally results in greater polarization than a negotiated party exit) and the KSČM’s dogmatic profile have encouraged a strong anti-communist and

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neo-liberal public discourse, amplified through mainstream media. This in turn has reinforced the party’s defensive bunker mentality. Under the first post-communist president Václav Havel (1993–2003) the KSČM was excluded from coalition negotiations, a fair allocation of parliamentary committee chairs and even meetings with the president. Even the ČSSD, which occasionally relied on the KSČM’s support when in government in 1998–2006, has explicitly excluded coalition with the communists unless they atone for their past and accept Czech NATO membership, even when (as in 2006) such a ‘left–left’ (ČSSD–KSČM) coalition might have mathematically formed a government. Yet this exclusion has been counterproductive: it merely sustains the KSČM’s image as an excluded outsider – a ‘white sheep amongst the wolves of the political establishment’ (Pehe 2006). Later, the cordon sanitaire eroded slightly; after 2002 the KSČM for the first time obtained proportional allocation to parliamentary posts and other public bodies subject to party nomination. In 2003, the party’s vote for the Thatcherite Václav Klaus as president was internally controversial but comprehensible given his Eurosceptism and nationalism. In return, Klaus included communist leaders in all-party consultations for the first time and granted concessions in future presidential appointments (Hanley 2004). The KSČM at last received a proportional number of parliamentary committee chairs (2) in 2006. Moreover, the ČSSD moved to the left under Jiří Paroubek (leader from 2006– 2010); it softened its anti-communism (albeit still rejecting a ČSSD–KSČM national coalition and deploying anti-communist rhetoric when advantageous). It increasingly cooperated with the communists in parliament and envisaged communist support for a ČSSD minority administration (Kopeček and Pšeja 2008). At regional level, the two parties have increasingly cooperated: after the October 2008 regional elections (where the KSČM gained 15 per cent of the vote), the two entered coalition in Karlovy Vary and North Moravia, while the KSČM supported the ČSSD in four other regions (there are 13 in total). Generally however, the KSČM is weaker in major cities, ruling only one (Most) since 2006 (Holubec 2010). The KSČM has increasingly sought to make itself more koalitionsfähig. Grebeníček resigned unexpectedly in 2005 complaining of policy disagreements within the leadership and was replaced by the younger and more media-friendly Vojtĕch Filip. In policy terms, Filip represented more continuity than change. However his leadership did initiate some changes in policy position, including a more cooperative attitude towards the European Left Party (PEL) which the party had earlier refused to join in part because of PEL’s anti-Stalinism (see Chapter 8). The KSČM now presented itself as a constructive force rejecting the Leninist policy of ‘the worse, the better’ and renouncing its past (KSČM 2007). Nevertheless, quick, radical changes to the KSČM’s marginalized status or a future ‘left–left’ coalition remain improbabilities. The KSČM is still not a fully ‘mainstream’ actor, and its potential governmental participation remains controversial. It aspires to lose its pariah status, yet still prefers to restrict coalitions to local level, lest it lose votes by abandoning its protest role. Moreover, the results of the May 2010 parliamentary election (where the ČSSD came first but gained just 22.6 per cent and 56 of 200 seats) excluded any

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mathematical possibility of a left–left coalition. The election was marked by the emergence of new right-wing parties (TOP 09 and Public Affairs) trading on promises of radical change. However, the KSČM ran a traditionalist campaign focussed on social security issues and unlike the new right ‘did not try to offer new topics or a new style of politics’ (Hloušek and Kaniok 2010: 7). Its result (holding steady at 26 seats but losing 1.5 per cent of its vote at 11.3 per cent) confirms the impression of a party in slow, but inexorable, decline and unable to find any lasting solution to the attrition of its ageing organizational and electoral base. Nevertheless, its niche role preserves party stability, because its conservative supporters ‘do not expect results but merely voice’ (Deegan-Krause and Haughton 2010: 238). Therefore, it remains plausible that the KSČM has a secure place in parliament for at least a decade, precisely because it refuses to change.

Moldova: vote-winning communists The Moldovan PCRM has benefited much from being the most centralized and united of the parties observed here. It has been plagued neither by internal strife nor (till 2009, when five disaffected MPs left in protest against the party’s electoral strategy) by serious splits. Since refounding in 1994 it has been dominated by its chairman Vladimir Voronin. This centralization dates to the party’s founding moment: Voronin (formerly Soviet Moldavia’s Interior Minister) was the only former Communist Party of Moldavia (KPM) leader to respond to rank and file appeals to contest the party ban (in place since August 1991). He was helped by leading personnel in the principal successor party, the centre-left Agrarian Democratic Party of Moldova (ADPM), who utilized the repeal of the ban for their own ends: to prove their own democratic credentials and to decant their own party traditionalists into the Communist Party.5 However, timing was crucial: the PCRM did not obtain legal registration until April 1994, two months after parliamentary elections, and so first participated in a parliamentary contest in 1998. As with the cordon sanitaire around the KSČM, this helped the communists avoid responsibility for the 1990s. In Moldova, these years saw multiple governments overseeing Moldova’s degradation into Europe’s poorest country. A ‘clean hands’ image was vital to the communists’ February 2001 electoral victory (Hill 2001). The founding moment was key in certain other respects too, in cementing a (relatively) reformist communist profile. The party claims that it has never suffered from the ‘Stalinist syndrome’ (Tkaciuk 2006). In 1989–92, the Moldovan state (in its contemporary borders an artificial product of Stalinist policies) split on a regional basis. Most of the most pro-Soviet elements (concentrated in Gagauzia and Transnistria) opposed the anti-communist Popular Front which took power in Moldova’s capital Chişinău and aimed at union with Romania. Particularly after Transnistria became de facto independent in 1991–1992, this divested the KPM in Chişinău of its most hard-line elements. Alone of the parties here, the KPM denounced the August 1991 Moscow coup, although too late to avoid being banned.

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A common trend in patrimonial communist states is for the former party elite (nomenklatura) to acclimatize themselves to the post-Soviet market economy and to turn Kapital into capital. In the PCRM, this process developed further than in many Eastern CPs, albeit without developing into overt criminality. During the ban period, key communist personnel developed interests in banking, tobacco and wine. Although not himself a public PCRM sympathizer, it was symptomatic that Voronin’s son Oleg (CEO of FinComBank) became one of Moldova’s leading businessmen, allegedly helped by his father’s elite connections. Ideologically, the PCRM is one of the most ‘office-seeking’ of all contemporary CPs. It does have different ideological trends, noticeably a more pragmatic ‘Marxist reformer’ trend and a traditionalist ‘Marxist-Leninist modernizer’ tendency that is more Russophile and reverent towards Lenin and traditional communist symbols.6 However, the pragmatists (headed by Voronin, never a noted ideologue) have been in the ascendant and pushed the party in technocratic directions. For example, the PCRM has never been particularly troubled by the problems of holding power in a bourgeois state, unlike the more policy-seeking KSČM and KPRF. Indeed, one of the first things Voronin did on assuming the presidency in 2001 was to ask the party to discard the ‘syndrome of opposition-ness’. Such pragmatism was barely evident in the 2001 party programme, which allegedly made the PCRM ‘one of the most backward and certainly most Red groups . . . anywhere in the post-Soviet world’ (Monitor 2002). This was an exaggeration: true, the programme professed Marxism-Leninism, with claims about the ultimate goal of communism, internationalism, the temporary victory of capitalism coexisting with commitments to free welfare, state control over banks and at least partial re-collectivization (PCRM 2001). Nevertheless, the programme did reject ‘dogmatism’, ‘totalitarianism’, ‘ideological monopoly’ and the Stalinist ‘cult of personality’ with commitments to ‘reformed socialism’, political rights and freedoms, and entrepreneurship except in the ‘strategic branches of industry’. In 2001 the party won an overwhelming parliamentary electoral victory (see Table 4.1), which allowed it to form the government and elect Voronin as executive president unaided. In office, the PCRM soon showed a stark contrast between rhetoric and action, with some very eclectic and contradictory stances. The party had won office on the basis of a simple neo-Soviet manifesto, promising a proRussian foreign policy, anti-corruption measures, price controls and increased economic interventionism (Voronin 2001). Its early years in office (2001–3) also showed incipient re-Sovietization, including the reintroduction of Soviet-era administrative districts, proposals to introduce Russian as a second state language and Voronin’s promise to turn Moldova into ‘Europe’s Cuba’ in reaction to outside interference. In 2003–6 the party discarded such neo-Soviet, Russophile policies in favour of a pro-European direction. From 2007 onwards, it moved back towards Russia, without fully discarding its Europhilism. Clearly the PCRM ‘blinked’ in office: its 2001 parliamentary victory was far larger than even the party had expected and many of its programmatic aims were quickly discarded under the pressures of governing. Already in 2002, Voronin was quoted as saying to build communism or developed socialism in Moldova

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was ‘Utopia’ (ADEPT 2002). Furthermore, the party’s oscillations reflected both Voronin’s pragmatism, his control over the PCRM and Moldova’s susceptibility to outside influence. Voronin first calculated that the EU was a better bet than Russia in resolving some of Moldova’s major challenges, such as the Transnistrian conflict, endemic poverty and emigration. Later, his impatience with the EU’s integration perspective (as outlined in the European Neighbourhood Policy) and concerns about losing the pro-Russian electorate led to a pragmatic rapprochement with Moscow. Accordingly, the PCRM’s new-found ‘Europeanization’, although significant, was incomplete: the PCRM oversaw entry to the WTO, promoted EU integration, and undertook no widespread re-nationalizations, but had an authoritarian style, and promoted an occasionally aggressively anti-Romanian nationalism. Party ‘Europeanization’ was reflected in ideological change. 2005 and 2009–10 electoral manifestos made no mention of communism or socialism, but focussed increasingly on concrete measures to improve the economy and join Europe (the April 2009 election slogan was ‘Building a European Moldova together’) (PCRM 2009). Central to party plans were the building of a ‘social state’, raising average wages, pensions and improving healthcare services, whilst improving national infrastructure and the competitiveness of national production. After discussion with international ‘democracy promotion’ organizations (such as the International Republican Institute), Voronin increasingly talked about modernizing the PCRM’s ideology ‘to assimilate the entire ideological inheritance, political experience of communism, socialism, and European social democracy’, to become ‘a true, European-style left-wing party’ and even join the Socialist International (PCRM 2004). In 2005 he stated that the PCRM would change its name within the next two years, since it had already become in essence social democratic.7 However, after a period of flux, the PCRM reaffirmed a renewed communist identity. In January 2007 it became the first party in the FSU to join the European Left Party (PEL). Its new 2008 party programme (PCRM 2008) defined itself as a ‘European Left Party’, criticized the ‘totalitarian’ past, added Gramsci and Bukharin to its ideological pantheon and downplayed (but did not excise) Lenin. The party saw its mission as ‘actively reclaiming the whole ideological heritage and political experience of European communism and socialism.’ This was a party which rejected the ‘totalitarian’ heritage, saw itself as both reformist and revolutionary, and implicitly attacked the KPRF as espousing the ‘ideas of isolationism, superpower-statehood, authoritarianism and separatism’. The party saw its own communism as aspiring to individual liberation from negative social contradictions, an active critical relationship to reality, and ‘real internationalism.’ This eclectically catch-all socialism hardly resolves some of the questions over its real position. How, for example, can the party combine its declared pro-EU direction with deeply felt Russophilism and membership of the PEL (generally critical of both the EU and Russia)? How can it be a member both of this anti-Stalinist party and the pan-USSR Union of Communist Parties–Communist Party of the Soviet Union (SKP–KPSS), chaired by Gennadii Zyuganov, leader of the ‘isolationist’ and Stalinophile KPRF (see Chapter 7)?

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Nevertheless, the biggest question of all is how the PCRM became the only post-Soviet CP both to attain national executive office and to keep it. The external environment was extremely beneficial, with Moldova’s economic performance worse than any other CIS state except Tajikistan. The emigration of up to 800,000 citizens of working age for employment abroad (15 per cent of the population) left an elderly electorate, a third of which were pensioners, typically the most procommunist strata. Moreover, Moldova’s parliamentary electoral system (uniquely for the CIS), with an indirectly elected presidency from 2000 onwards, allowed the communists to translate their parliamentary dominance (71 of 101 seats in 2001) into executive power. Everywhere else in the CIS (as we shall see with Russia), ‘super-presidential’ systems have kept executive power far out of communist hands (Fish 1999). Moreover, weak opposition helped the PCRM: first the chief successor party (ADPM) collapsed by 1998, giving an electoral space for the PCRM to emerge; second, the PCRM’s parliamentary opponents miscalculated on occasions too numerous to detail (their disunity in 2001 and 2005 much contributed to the PCRM’s victories). Moreover, in Voronin the PCRM possessed a charismatic leader who was far from the bureaucratic apparatchik persona of the KSČM’s Grebeníček or the KPRF’s Zyuganov. Brash and authoritarian certainly, but credited with guile, bravery and humour, Voronin’s personal rating towered above other all other presidential candidates until 2009. He was able to maintain his hold over the party despite its apparently serious doubts over the new pro-EU direction through constant cadre rotation, a rigidly centralized internal party culture and a ruthless attitude to disloyalty (Caşu 2006). The PCRM’s re-election in 2005 was based on policy successes as well as its pro-EU shift just prior to the campaign: it had overseen consistent economic growth and a rise in social spending (particularly on pensions) as well as relatively stable government. However, its re-election in April 2009 proved far more controversial. The (temporary) break with Russia in 2003–6 brought economic sanctions and few concrete dividends from the pro-EU direction. This contributed to a marked decline in PCRM support in the 2007 local elections. Given that, constitutionally, president Voronin had to leave office after two terms in 2009, the threat to PCRM power was real. Voronin responded by retreating from relative accommodation of the opposition in 2005–7 (including an informal coalition with the centre-right Christian Democrats) towards a Manichean strategy of polarizing the electorate into allies and enemies, and took a markedly more repressive stance towards opponents (including initiating criminal cases against all major opposition leaders) (Popescu and Wilson 2009). The April 2009 elections ushered in some of the murkiest events in recent Moldovan history (e.g. March 2009b). The PCRM returned an enhanced vote and parliamentary seat share (60), enough to form a government (51 seats) and needing just one extra vote to elect a new communist president. Based on allegations of doctoring the electoral rolls, the opposition cried fraud and uncontrolled demonstrations (the so-called ‘Twitter revolution’) vandalized the presidency and parliament, before the PCRM government instituted a brief but heavy handed

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crackdown, which involved arbitrary arrests, beatings and three deaths in custody. Opposition allegations of fraud were taken as gospel by international media. However, while it is possible that the PCRM ‘won the plurality but stole the majority’ (quoted in Chamberlain-Creanga 2009:1), it is not impossible that the PCRM’s improved result mainly reflected its revived support from the pro-Russian electorate. As the OSCE/ODIHR final electoral report (2009) argued, the opposition was unable to prove fraud on a scale large enough to affect the result. Nevertheless, whereas anti-communism was weak in Moldovan politics in the 1990s, the authoritarianism of the PCRM-led authorities united the opposition around a narrative of communist ‘totalitarianism’ that in 2009 fuelled the rhetoric of a ‘stolen election.’ This new polarization and a complete breakdown of trust between communists and opposition meant that the PCRM (unlike in 2005 when three opposition parties had supported Voronin as president) failed to gain the critical single presidential vote. This forced repeat elections in July 2009, where the PCRM’s vote declined and the opposition ‘Alliance for European Integration’ (AEI) thereafter formed a new anti-communist administration. The PCRM contributed to the crisis by brooking no compromise with the opposition and twice nominating a party loyalist (former PM Zinaida Greceanii) as presidential candidate, while relegating its best-known pragmatist and consensus builder, parliamentary speaker Marian Lupu, to prime minister designate. It appeared that internal party considerations (Lupu had a deteriorating relationship with Voronin and the PCRM’s conservative wing), as well as a degree of hubris, led the PCRM into an ultimately self-defeating manoeuvre. As a result, Lupu, who held long-standing presidential ambitions, defected from the PCRM to the centre-left Democratic Party (PDM), helping it to 12.5 per cent of the vote (a four-fold increase) in July by appealing to PCRM voters originally seduced by its pro-Western and modernizing slogans in 2005 (PDM 2009). Nevertheless, the PCRM ploughed on with its confrontation strategy, with neoSoviet electoral slogans that portrayed Moldova as a besieged fortress surrounded by enemies (e.g. ‘On 29 July defend the Motherland!’).8 However, this Manicheanism boxed the communists into a corner. The July repeat election resulted in a diminished PCRM parliamentary fraction (48) with no parliamentary allies and now short of governmental and presidential majorities. The post-election period only intensified the political-constitutional crisis since the AEI (with 53 seats) was now itself unable to muster the 61 votes for electing a president without the PCRM’s help. Yet no mutually acceptable choice proved possible, and the PCRM twice turned down the AEI’s candidate Lupu in November and December 2009, although parliament remained in office following constitutional stipulations that it could be dissolved only once within twelve months. Attempting to overcome the deadlock, the AEI initiated a referendum on 5 September 2010 to amend the constitution by introducing a nationally elected president. The PCRM again boycotted the referendum, a boycott that was instrumental in voter turnout failing to reach the necessary 33 per cent. As a result, the AEI finally dissolved parliament and repeat elections were held on 28 November 2010.

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Intractable polarization was obvious. The PCRM returned to an anti-system stance brooking no compromise. Essentially viewing the AEI as illegitimate and the July 2009 election as a ‘stolen election’, it was clearly motivated by narrow partisan aims: preventing Lupu’s accession to the presidency (which would risk losing more pragmatic communist voters to the Democratic Party) and exploiting evident divisions in the AEI and Moldova’s post-2008 economic malaise to return to power through repeat elections. On the other hand, the AEI also promoted partisan polarization, with acting president Mihai Ghimpu unsuccessfully promoting several anti-communist measures (such as bringing Voronin to trial and declaring a ‘Day of Soviet Occupation’ to mark Moldova’s 1940 annexation from Romania by the USSR). Moreover, several of the AEI’s initiatives (such as changing electoral legislation before the November 2010 elections and the constitutional referendum itself) possessed the same dubious constitutionality that its members had once ascribed to the communists (Boţan 2010a; OSCE/ODIHR 2010). Yet the repeat elections did not vindicate the PCRM’s strategy. It fell to 39.3 per cent and 42 seats, while the AEI mustered 59 seats: the main beneficiary being Prime Minister Vlad Filat’s Liberal Democratic Party, which was credited by voters with competent and stable governance (Boţan 2010b). On this occasion, the PCRM fought against some of the ‘administrative resources’ (negative media and dirty tricks) it had once utilized, but although it cried fraud, the election was regarded as generally free and fair (OSCE/ODIHR 2010). Its negotiations with the Democratic Party to form a centre-left coalition proved abortive as the inducements of the EU and distrust of the communists persuaded Lupu to rejoin the AEI. Accordingly the PCRM’s influence has further slipped: while the AEI still needs two communist votes to secure the presidency and avoid more repeat elections, Voronin’s national popularity has further weakened since leaving the presidency and the party’s apparent inability to replace its ageing leader (Voronin turned 70 in 2011) appears increasingly damaging – according to critics the party now has a ‘post-modernist political program, but . . . an almost pre-modern leader’ (Boţan 2010c). With the AEI apparently securing greater favours from the EU than the PCRM mustered and economic crisis receding, it is undoubtedly possible that the party’s inability to adapt to changing electoral configurations could eventually confine the PCRM to the niche position its fraternal parties now occupy in Russia and Ukraine.

The Russian KPRF: external opposition Unlike for the PCRM, the struggle to refound the KPRF after its suspension (August 1991) and ban (November 1991) was far more of a collective effort, because the intra-party struggle was unresolved at the time of the ban and no single personality dominated.9 Prior to the August 1991 coup, the Russian Communist Party (CP RSFSR), founded only in 1990, had remained a dependent affiliate of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, unable through internal divisions to develop a clear profile. The CP RSFSR leader (Valentin Kuptsov) replaced the ineffective Ivan Polozkov less than two weeks before the coup, reflecting a partial victory of party

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moderates over its most conservative wing. Moreover, the moderates retained an organizational kernel in the Russian parliament, which gradually helped reconstitute the party. Most significantly though, the party leadership contested the ban (implemented with dubious legitimacy by president Boris Yeltsin) through the Constitutional Court. On 30 November 1992 they won a moral victory as the court permitted the primary organizations of the party to function, which was interpreted by leadership as permitting the revival of a Russian party organization. The refoundation process was complicated by some half-dozen communist groups who had arisen to claim the ‘successor party’ mantle and played a great role in vigorous street protests provoked by rapid economic decline and institutional conflict between President Yeltsin and his parliament. Amidst several competing initiatives to refound the party, the former CP RSFSR leadership won out by a mixture of greater prestige, guile, and ideological pragmatism, the chief example being the election of Gennadii Zyuganov as party leader in February 1993. Zyuganov was a moderate conservative, but with a militant nationalist image able to tap into Russia’s traditions of ‘national-Bolshevism’, an étatiste nationalism that justified communist rule through appeal to ‘superpower status’ rather than MarxismLeninism and which is particularly associated with late Stalinism (Brandenburger 2002). This imperialistic national-Bolshevism, not available to communists in ‘subject’ states of the FSU (like Moldova), helped appeal to non-communists who nevertheless might mourn the ‘great power’ status of the USSR. However, the origins of the KPRF as a constellation of competing tendencies, compounded by Russia’s huge size and federal structure, have continued to give the party problems of central control far greater than the other parties examined here – like most Russian parties it is Moscow-centric and struggles to control its regional components. The KPRF has been divided by at least four ideological tendencies: Zyuganov’s ‘statist-patriotic communists’, quasi-Eurocommunist ‘Marxist reformers’, more theoretically purist ‘Marxist-Leninist modernizers’ and ‘red patriots’, the latter of whom (like the KSČM’s traditionalists) have an emotional attachment to the symbols of Soviet power, including Stalin. Furthermore, a clear divide between pragmatic moderates who have accommodated themselves to the post-Soviet political system and ‘semi-loyal’ opposition, and radicals who have scorned any compromise with the ‘anti-national comprador regime’ has been detectable in much of the party’s (often self-defeating) conduct. For instance, the KPRF’s provocative attempt to impeach President Yeltsin in 1998 to reinforce its ‘anti-system’ status helped provoke Yeltsin’s dismissal of the KPRF’s then ally, Prime Minister Evgenii Primakov. Ideologically, the ascendancy of Zyuganov’s statist-patriotic position became gradually clearer at the expense of social democratic elements in early party documents. Zyuganov was one of the most prominent advocates of the union of ‘reds’ and ‘whites’ (anti-communist nationalists) in a ‘national-liberation struggle’ of Russian civilization against common enemies (neo-liberal economics and proWestern foreign policy). The KPRF made overtures to domestic business against Western ‘comprador’ capital, downplaying class struggle (Zyuganov argued that Russia had reached its limit of revolutions) in favour of ‘state patriotism’ (national

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reconciliation around a strong socially oriented state). Needless to say, this strategy was immensely controversial among the Russian and wider European left, many of whom saw the KPRF as a fundamentally conservative, nationalist, Stalinist or fascistic organization, more similar to Milošević’s nationalist-populist Serbian Socialist Party than anything genuinely ‘socialist’ (e.g. Lester 1997). Even the formerly Stalinophile PCF gradually distanced itself from the KPRF in the late 1990s. The KPRF’s negative attitude towards annual ‘Moscow Gay Pride’ marches was a stellar example of its cultural conservatism and became a crisis point in inter-party relations, as some members of the PCF leadership criticized the KPRF for attempting to combine communism and homophobia (Alekseev 2006). Such concerns were sometimes hyperbolic. Marxist reformers and MarxistLeninist modernizers within the KPRF were sceptical or hostile about Zyuganov’s position. The party’s programme made it clear that the ‘national-liberation struggle’ was indelibly linked with the ‘social-class struggle’ and simply part of the first stage of a three-stage transition to a classless society, and that the party remained committed to Marxism-Leninism, dialectical materialism and revolutions as the ‘locomotive of history’, albeit with a strong reliance on nationalistic anti-capitalism (KPRF 1997). It is still structured as a recognizably communist pyramidal organization resting on primary party cells and headed by a central committee (KPRF 2002). The Leninist elements of the party still explain much of its behaviour. Although all significant extreme left challengers outside the party never recovered influence after their decision to boycott the December 1993 parliamentary elections, the KPRF was careful not to unduly alienate its intra-party radicals and periodically tacked leftwards to radicalize its supporters. Nevertheless, the KPRF far more consistently courted (ideologically and electorally) the nationalist right than the socialist left or even centre-left: this nationalism, whilst not purely ethnic nationalism, is rooted in Stalinist national-chauvinism. The ‘nationalist’ stance became more problematic still after the more nationalistic Vladimir Putin replaced the pro-Western Yeltsin as President in December 1999, depriving the party of its core message. The KPRF thereafter undertook a stronger leftwards shift, but this was too late to stem a decline which had begun after a convincing defeat in the presidential elections of 1996. ‘State patriotism’ certainly weakened the KPRF’s critique of the corrupt and authoritarian Russian state. Indeed, the party was not unfairly accused of being a ‘cosmetic opposition’, which, because of its risk-averse bureaucratism, essentially pacified social protest and thereby played a system-supporting role. Like the PCRM, the KPRF’s lack of class animus towards the national bourgeoisie began to inveigle the party in sub rosa relationships with the super-rich that confused and disorientated its membership, with the party increasingly accused of corrupt relationships with ‘oligarchs’ (plutocrats) such as Boris Berezovskii and Mikhail Khodorkovskii whom it professed to abhor (Kagarlitskii et al. 2006). At the same time, the nationalistic excesses of some of the KPRF’s leaders (e.g. Zyuganov’s courting of the anti-Western fundamentalist wing of the Orthodox Church

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and the anti-Semitism of some MPs) did much to damage the Russian left as a progressive force. In the KPRF’s (partial) defence, it faced an extremely unpropitious external environment. The super-presidential system entailed weak parliamentary prerogatives, a non-party government and a vehemently anti-communist executive largely immune to parliamentary oversight – this ‘responsibility without power’ gradually weakened the large communist parliamentary fraction in the eyes of its electorate throughout the 1990s. As in France, presidential elections personalized and polarized politics, providing a 50 per cent hurdle that the communists were never able to reach. The KPRF’s electoral highpoint, 40.3 per cent for Zyuganov (albeit running as a national-patriotic candidate) in the second round of the 1996 presidential election, was achieved despite President Yeltsin’s significant incumbency advantages (chiefly financial and media). Furthermore, Russia’s regional electoral systems were not formed on a party basis until 2003, much diluting the party’s potential as a national force. In addition, as Russia moved from (at best) an ‘electoral democracy’ to (at least) a ‘competitive authoritarian’ regime under Putin (Levitsky and Way 2002), the presidency increased its use of administrative and financial pressures to compel the communists to reform into a more moderate and more obedient centre-left organization or perish. Notable among these attempts were regime-led formations of left-populist challengers (e.g. Rodina (Motherland) in 2003 and Just Russia in 2007) aiming to ‘salami-slice’ the communist vote. A major party split in 2004 led by the businessman Gennadii Semigin was encouraged and funded by the Kremlin and resulted in a two-thirds loss of membership (from 547,000 in 2000 to 184,000 by 2006), although the exit of dissidents ultimately allowed Zyuganov to consolidate his hold over a much diminished organization. However, it would clearly be simplistic to attribute the KPRF’s decline merely to external manipulation. It has also been poorly led by Zyuganov’s team, and not just because of the overall strategy of state patriotism. Zyuganov was already an electoral ‘has-been’ by 2000, with high negative ratings and polls showing that he would lose to almost any challenger in a presidential second round, but the KPRF conspicuously failed to replace him or to radically rejuvenate the leadership team. Indeed, increasing efforts were spent shoring up the leadership against internal challengers, driving out independent voices and seeking vanguardism over the party’s allies. This was most damaging in 2003 when its rejection of a broader left-wing alliance drove the rising left-wing leader Sergei Glaz’ev towards the competitor bloc Rodina. The KPRF’s ham-fisted parachuting of dollar millionaires from the Yukos oil company onto its electoral lists in 2003 at the same time as it pitched its manifesto leftwards helped halve its vote in an election marked by the arrest of oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovskii and a mass anti-oligarch backlash. In the process, the party returned to the 12 per cent vote share it held a decade previously, just after founding (see Table 4.1). Moreover, there were countless golden opportunities to challenge the authorities for power that the party willingly or unwillingly missed (Wilson 2005: 235). For example, it did not consistently lead extra-parliamentary protest nor develop strong links with trade unions – here

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the vanguard was conspicuously lagging. Increasingly the party seemed content to run ‘as bridesmaid but never the bride’, an introverted party seemingly content, like the KSČM, to concentrate on constituency representation rather than electoral competition. Like the PCF, the KPRF’s future has been almost permanently questioned, as its membership ages and electorate declines. Yet one should not bet against it retaining a medium-term position within the Russian party system. For better or worse, it is currently Russia’s only semi-independent opposition party and is still the second party nationally and regionally, capable of some electoral surprises (such as an 18 per cent showing for Zyuganov in the 2008 presidential elections and 20 per cent in the March 2011 regional elections). It has been an increasing defender of democracy, parliamentary government and the multi-party system, warning against presidential ‘dictatorship’. In 2008 it even benefitted from the protest votes of disaffected liberals, since it is the only parliamentary ‘opposition’ party that regularly (however indirectly) criticizes the federal authorities. Still, as long as it rejects the philosophical basis of Western liberal democracy, it is hard to see the KPRF as a convincing democratic force; indeed, its residual Stalinism and national-Bolshevism arguably concentrates in one party ‘the various bloody spectres haunting European political philosophy for the past two centuries’ (Sakwa 1998: 152). Yet, while one of the most extreme European CPs in rhetoric, it has been one of the most docile in practice. Its ‘anti-system-ness’ has become increasingly formal, like a Grand Old Duke of York permanently repositioning its troops in lieu of real combat. In this conduct it is hardly alone; even the relatively Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ukraine increasingly demonstrated a ‘covert conformism’ as its influence has declined (Wilson 2005: 242–5). Overall, the future of the Russian left cannot be de-linked from that of the KPRF, which has long dominated it, and which remains (in the view of many) a decaying corpse preventing the emergence of newer left-wing challengers. Yet, the party’s track record (quasi-opposition, quasi-Stalinist, quasi-democratic, and deeply conservative) offers little hope that the Russian left’s prospects will develop because of, rather than despite it.

From communism to conservatism? We have focussed on clear differences in origins, leadership and environment that have resulted in markedly different trajectories for each party. The KSČM, most ill-prepared for change in 1989 and most excluded from power since (but notably never banned), unsurprisingly maintains the most apparent fidelity to its pre1989 heritage, but even it has adopted a (relatively) pluralist, pro-market position that indicates that its policies have not simply ossified; indeed, since 2005 it has moved hesitantly in a more reform communist direction. The PCRM, least Stalinist in 1991, most ably led thereafter, and granted the most propitious economic and political environment, has been the most reformist in its evolution towards an eclectic democratic socialist position; although it took the shock of government to exert major changes to party shibboleths. The KPRF appears to have developed

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furthest from Marxism-Leninism towards the nationalist ‘right’, but in fact maintains an organic continuity with Soviet symbols, Leninist party organization and late Stalinist national-Bolshevism, whilst the combination of poor leadership and adverse environment has accelerated its travails. Legacy seems convincing as a general explanation (e.g. for the marginality of the KSČM and relative success of the PCRM and KPRF). However, the very divergent trajectories of the latter two (both emerging from a patrimonial communist legacy), indicate the limits of legacy based approaches. Each party has certain parallels to West European communists. For example, the KSČM’s self-preservation strategy and niche position recall the KKE, although the KKE’s neo-Stalinism makes the KSČM look relatively enlightened! The PCRM recalls AKEL, since its success is built on external moderation and pragmatism combined with rigid centralization that limits internal friction. The KPRF recalls the PCF – in ideological terms the resemblance is more to Marchais-era arch-conservatism and strategic ineptitude than mutation, but the party’s inability to reverse its secular decline certainly has contemporary echoes. In general, the Eastern experience parallels that of the Western: over time each party has become more national(ist), more divergent, and less ideologically ‘communist’. Indeed it is striking how even in the East, communists have sought to dissociate themselves from Marxism-Leninism and appeal either to a humanist Marxism and vague anti-capitalism (the KSČM) to downplay ideology (the PCRM), or espouse nationalism (the KPRF). Just as in Western Europe, there has been a process of de-radicalization, as each party has adjusted to parliamentary procedures and a lack of extra-parliamentary influence and has moved from anti-system positions to (at the very least) ‘semi-loyalty’, professing their formal adherence to the ‘rules of the game.’ Indeed in each of these cases, in part because of their perception of anti-communist persecution, the Eastern communist parties have been among the most constitutional and law-abiding actors of any. Nevertheless, even more so than in the West, their de-radicalization is contestable (and is contested within the parties themselves). In the eyes of their opponents, their ambiguous attitude to their past, the presence of considerable numbers of Leninists or Stalinists in their ranks, their lukewarm attitude to individualism and liberalism, and their more nostalgic programmatic commitments mark them out as, if not revolutionary, then extremist and ‘dual-faced’ forces, making their everyday incrementalism look like a tactical concession. Overall, the challenges for East European communists are both easier and harder than for their Western counterparts. Easier, because the socialist value culture and the many transition losers mean that RLPs have a potentially broad constituency. Furthermore, for historical reasons only in the East (in formerly patrimonial communist systems, albeit not in formerly bureaucratic-authoritarian Czech Republic where the ČSSD thrives) can communists regularly dominate the radical left. Yet the challenges are harder because in many countries (and in particular formerly national-consensus and bureaucratic-authoritarian systems), the communist/anticommunist cleavage remains much more salient than in the West. For instance, in the Czech Republic the dividends of the socialist value culture are outweighed

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Eastern European communists

by the KSČM’s pariah status. The PCRM largely escaped this anti-communism in the 1990s because it was out of power and its competitors completely discredited themselves, but it returned to salience during the party’s period in office. Elsewhere in the FSU, even where the political elites are themselves often ex-communists and appeal to Soviet symbols and nostalgia (e.g. in Russia and Belarus), the legacy of the CPSU’s ideological monopoly leads them to share former President Putin’s distaste for ideological ‘roaches’ (Putin 2000: 181). As a result, communists are seldom treated as fully legitimate political actors. Moreover, even more so than their Western counterparts, the Eastern communists are conservatives by age, experience, inclination, and culture, even in part the PCRM, which in ideological terms is a reform communist party. All three parties examined here (again with the partial exception of the PCRM, whose governing role has allowed it to attract new constituencies) rely heavily on older and less educated strata.10 Their core is Soviet-era party retirees, much of whose life experience was as bureaucratic administrators rather than street-fighting revolutionaries. All the Eastern communists lack a mass movement in any real sense. They are the ‘vanguard’ neither of youth nor workers, but remain organized as attenuated mass-type parties in states whose industrial base has been ravaged by ‘transition’, and where electoral success (particularly in more clientelistic patrimonial communist regimes) tends to demand increasingly ‘catch-all’, fuzzy-focus party appeals (Mair 1997). This alloy of bureaucratism and weak grounding in civil society, trade unions or social movements has given an additional impetus to a psychological, organizational and financial dependence on bourgeois regimes. This process has gone furthest in the KPRF and PCRM, who are deeply enmeshed in clientelistic relations with business in less democratic political systems, but even the KSČM, having failed to break out of its electoral niche, began to demonstrate a markedly more cooperative conduct towards the political elite. Given this conservatism, the Russian and Czech CPs appear both unwilling and unable consistently to pursue vote-seeking strategies, and indeed to have little confidence in their own ideological abilities – also clearly shown by the PCRM’s abrupt abandonment of communist orthodoxies in government. Accordingly, any anti-systemic opposition has become increasingly ‘virtual’ and symbolic. In part these parties act as neo-Soviet counter-societies – defenders of the institutions and values that generations gave their lives to build. In practice, however, communism has become more an electoral ‘brand name’ or ritual ‘political folklore’ than a theory: promising CPs a stable vote and stake in the political system despite and indeed because they have not changed name and symbols (cf. Hanley 2004). This conservatism has not always been a weakness: their lack of obvious revolutionary intent prevented CPs suffering permanent prohibition from the postcommunist authorities and political folklore played a great role in the psychological and political representation of some of the most excluded strata during great socio-economic malaise. Nevertheless, it offers particular longer-term challenges. First, irrespective of their declared ideology, these parties do remain more clearly marked by Soviet legacies than most Western CPs. In particular, they are relatively weakly influenced by post-68 new left ideas or Eurocommunism, and some

Eastern European communists

93

evidence of environmentalism in KSČM and KPRF platforms notwithstanding, these two parties remain far more socially conservative, materialist, and (in the KPRF’s case) national-chauvinist than more reformist parties such as Rifondazione and even the PCF, posing potential problems for cooperation in pan-European forums such as the PEL. Even the non-Stalinist PCRM, which is now a PEL member, remains Leninist in organization and internal culture, if not formal ideology. Furthermore, building a lasting foundation provides no smaller challenges in the East. From their re-emergence, their opponents voiced expectations that the ‘biological time bomb’ would mean the erosion of communist support alongside their elderly support-base. The communists’ still significant presence in many party systems twenty years later defies such simplistic expectations. Nevertheless, declining electoral support in most cases indicates that their position is precarious. Not only does each party’s covert or overt conformism continue to disorientate those more radically inclined party supporters, but the continued dependence on Soviet-era symbols and rituals means that in no case has any party developed an unambiguous post-Soviet left identity that will guarantee their longer-term future after generational change.

5

Modern democratic socialists or old-style social democrats?

‘Democratic socialism’ has often been a vague and unstable alloy. For much of the twentieth century it was usually considered synonymous with social democracy, particularly in continental European social democratic parties which had developed from the Marxist tradition but which sought to distinguish themselves from Soviet-style authoritarian socialism. Hence the Socialist International, and Party of European Socialists, the majority of whose members nevertheless call themselves ‘social democrats’. Nevertheless, to many self-described democratic socialists, the term implied a greater commitment to systemic transformation, public ownership and grass-roots democracy than mainstream social democracy (Benn 1980; Kilmarnock 1988). The persistent weakness of this democratic socialism was its inability to achieve an alternative ‘third way’ between communism and moderate social democracy, particularly since it often worked with and through the latter. However, since 1989, with the decline of traditional communism and the rightwards movement many social democratic parties, the term ‘democratic socialism’ has come to denote a more coherent position to the left of modern social democratic parties, espousing state welfarism, public ownership and participative democracy, and rejecting mainstream social democracy’s generally neo-liberal domestic politics and EuroAtlantic international inclinations (Hudson 2000).1 Yet, democratic socialism cannot simply monopolize the vacuum left by social democracy. First, this vacuum is contested by the radical right and Greens, and as illustrated in the preceding chapters, many (predominantly Western) communists now claim to be post-Stalinist ‘democratic socialists’. Although authentic democratic socialists still make more convincing defenders of new left themes such as feminism and environmentalism, the boundary between democratic socialism and communism is increasingly porous. Second, particularly after social democracy’s rediscovery of Keynesian interventionism alongside the 2008 economic crisis, social democrats are reappraising the virtues of a ‘left’ identity and democratic socialist rhetoric, not least because parties like PASOK and the UK Labour Party (still a ‘democratic socialist’ party according to its 1995 constitution) contain an influential, albeit diminished, left wing long unhappy with their neo-liberal direction. Accordingly, they compete for the same constituencies and ideas as democratic socialists, but with far greater electoral weight and traditions behind them.

Democratic socialists or social democrats? 95 Finally, all democratic socialist parties have constituencies who want a left identity to be something more than simply a defence of old-style Keynesianism. This chapter focuses on three contrasting West European democratic socialist parties. The Finnish Left Alliance (VAS) and the Danish Socialist People’s Party (SF) are two ‘Nordic Green Left’ (NGL) parties that, despite historical and programmatic similarities, have had diverse recent trajectories – the former facing electoral decline amidst ideological and strategic indecision, the latter experiencing unprecedented success with an (increasingly moderate) red–green profile. The final Western case is that of the Portuguese Left Bloc (Bloco), a recently successful ‘broad left’ formation from several extreme left micro-parties. In the latter part of the chapter I explain the near complete absence of relevant democratic socialist parties in Eastern Europe. Contemporary democratic socialism is diverse. Some parties (such as Bloco, which has carved out a post-materialist niche in Portuguese politics) are archetypal post-1968 ‘new politics’ parties (‘new left/‘left-libertarian’ parties) that emphasize socio-cultural as much as ‘old left’ distributive economic issues, prioritize participatory politics and unconventional themes and have a young, highlyeducated, white-collar electorate (cf. Poguntke 1987). Similarly, NGL parties in Iceland, Norway and Denmark are new left parties articulating an ‘eco-socialist’ position that synthesizes economic, feminist and environmental critiques of capitalism. Other NGL parties, such as VAS (and to a lesser extent the Swedish Left Party) still have stronger elements of an old left profile, combining traditional materialist issues with new politics themes. Others still, like the Socialist Party of Ukraine, remain predominately old politics parties. However, all parties examined here are struggling to carve out coherent identities in competition with other left and Green challengers, but with varying emphases and degrees of success.

The pragmatic ‘radicalism’ of the Nordic Green Left The parties of the Nordic Green Left, which comprises the Finnish Left Alliance (VAS), Danish Socialist People’s Party (SF), Norwegian Left Socialist Party (SV), Swedish Left Party (V) and Icelandic Left-Green Movement (VG), share several common historical distinctions marking them out from other European RLPs. First, these are parties which emerged either as splits from social democratic parties (SV) or as offshoots or successors of communist parties (the remainder), which (in alliance with social democratic dissenters) adopted reformist, non-dogmatic, post-Leninist and nationally specific socialisms by the early 1970s (well before Eurocommunism) and which increasingly adopted a new left emphasis on environmentalism, pacifism and feminism (e.g. Gilberg 1980). Where this position was adopted early and successfully (as in Denmark, Norway and Iceland), it largely precluded the emergence of successful independent Green parties, but in all cases their independence from the Soviet Union and ‘patriotic’, nationally specific policies helped them survive the fall of the USSR (relatively) unscathed. Second, these parties are strongly rooted in traditions of ‘Nordic exceptionalism’ (Browning 2007). This asserts that Nordic experience, norms and values are

96

Democratic socialists or social democrats?

models to be copied by others, and exists with strong traditions of Euroscepticism, since ‘Nordic identity is about being better than Europe’ (Waever 1992: 77). Indeed, the Nordic states have been traditionally regarded as ‘reluctant Europeans’ (Miljan 1977), seeing the EU as challenging the basis of Nordic success. Until the 1980s, the whole Nordic left shared a consensus over the main domestic planks of the model (with radicals placing more emphasis on full employment, universal welfarism and participative democracy). However, radicals and moderates were often sharply distinguished over foreign policy. Although the Nordic left shared aspirations to pacifism and benign internationalism focussed on peacekeeping and humanitarianism, the NGL expressed greater opposition to NATO, US foreign policy post-Vietnam and, increasingly, membership of the EU. Indeed, distinct foreign policy positions were pivotal to the emergence and growth of the Danish SF and Norwegian SV (Christensen 1996). Third, the domestic consensus allowed the NGL a relatively more pragmatic approach to government participation far earlier than European RLPs in general. For instance, well before the PCI’s ‘historic compromise’ or the PCF’s participation in the Mauroy government, the Finnish communists participated in coalition governments more than all other Western European Communist Parties combined (Dunphy 2004: 139). The Icelandic People’s Alliance (VG’s forerunner) participated in five coalition governments from 1956 to 1991, whilst the Danish and Swedish NGL parties offered periodic, critical support for social democratic governments before 1991, without ever being formally included in coalitions. By the 1990s, these specificities had implications. The ‘Nordic model’ was suffering pressures familiar to Keynesian welfare states elsewhere (recession, increasing unemployment and rising social expenditure), leading to familiar solutions by social democratic and right-wing governments alike, namely ‘marked neo-liberal shifts in national economic, social and industrial relations’ (Lawler 1997: 571) and an opening to the EU which culminated in Finland and Sweden’s accession in 1995 (Denmark had joined after a closely-fought referendum in 1973). As David Arter notes (2002: 24), the neo-liberalization of Nordic social democracy allowed the NGL the potential to social democratize as the de facto ‘custodian of traditional social democratic values and policies.’ However, such a role was often more deeply contested within the parties themselves than Arter implies, and finding an identity between communism and social democracy became a critical issue. To a significant degree, the strong Euroscepticism and national exceptionalism of NGL parties became their identity marker, distinguishing them not only from their increasingly pro-EU and Atlanticist social democratic rivals, but also from other relatively pro-EU RLPs (such as Rifondazione and the German LP). In turn this complicated the radical left’s international cooperation through such institutions as the PEL, as we shall see in Chapter 8.

The Finnish Left alliance: nowhere over the rainbow? VAS is the direct successor to the Finnish Communist Party (SKP), once one of Europe’s largest, but after the late 1960s divided into a broadly Eurocommunist

Democratic socialists or social democrats? 97 ‘majority’ and pro-Soviet ‘minority’ who increasingly acted as independent parties with their own organizations and press (Spring and Spring 1980). By 1987 the factions were running two separate electoral coalitions: the majority in the Finnish People’s Democratic League (SKDL) – the Communist Front under whose aegis the SKP had always contested elections – and the minority in the Democratic Alternative (DEVA). However, with the USSR’s demise rendering the fundamental policy disagreements obsolete, the SKDL and DEVA reunited in May 1990 to provide an explicitly red–green umbrella for the communist and non-communist radical left, analogous to the Danish SF. VAS’ post-communist profile was indicated by the choice of non-communists Claes Andersson (1990–1998) and SuviAnne Siimes (1998–2006) as its first leaders. VAS initially staked out a broad, pragmatic and inclusive, if vague, political identity as a ‘Red-Green party of the modern Left’ designed to synthesize progressive tendencies outside the Marxist tradition and reverse electoral decline (Andersson 1995). Thus the choice of the name ‘Left’ (with no explicit reference to socialism) and emphasis on common values (‘democracy . . . social economic and cultural equality . . . equality between the sexes . . . solidarity . . . sustainable development, internationalism . . . linked by a firm basic aspiration – the ideal of human liberation’) (VAS 1990). VAS later identified itself as a ‘third left’, uniting socialists and non-socialist liberals and defining socialism not simply as state ownership of the means of production but in ‘its original, broad meaning as a value-based ideology and movement’ unified by ‘democracy and the promotion of genuine participation’ (VAS 1995a, 1998). This ‘third left’ prioritized individual freedom, environmentalism and feminism, transcending the second ‘socialist left’ developing out of the industrial revolution and first (bourgeois-democratic) left emerging after the French revolution. VAS’ exact policy profile has remained controversial. Arter (2002: 5) claims that as an ‘entirely new’ party, the Left Alliance had a less problematic evolution than, for example, the Swedish V (the former Left Party – Communists simply renamed). Nevertheless, V has ultimately managed to develop a more consistent eco-socialist, feminist identity appealing to white-collar workers. VAS has remained weaker among younger, more educated constituencies, and despite substantial minority support in the leading union confederation (SAK), it has weak links with social movements (Zilliacus 2001). Indeed, Richard Dunphy’s (2007) view of VAS as still strongly influenced by its communist past, especially in terms of its internal debates and strategic/tactical indecision, is more persuasive, particularly since VAS emerged as an abrupt merger of two formerly antagonistic wings. One legacy is that, like the SKP before it, VAS remains one of the least radical parties in the whole European radical left, let alone the NGL. In particular, its long tradition of government participation meant that it was long ago accepted as ‘part of the political establishment and a legitimate government partner’ (Dunphy 2004: 140). This policy moderation, in addition to Finland’s neutrality during the Cold War (meaning that joining the Atlanticist community was never an issue until the late 1980s, as it was in Norway and Denmark from the 1960s onwards) means VAS was traditionally less

98

Democratic socialists or social democrats?

Eurosceptic than the remainder of the NGL. However, as EU membership became a reality, Euroscepticism grew within Finnish society to the degree that the majority of VAS voters (and three-quarters of members) opposed EU membership by the late 1990s. Although VAS never made Euroscepticism central to its identity, its consistently incoherent attitude to the EU helped crystallize this as a major party division. The party leadership saw EU integration as both broadly unavoidable and economically beneficial to Finland, and ‘compartmentalized’ their doubts in order not to affect VAS’ coalition potential, which they viewed as necessary to restore the party’s post-Soviet credibility (Aylott 2002; Dunphy 2007). Whilst voicing criticism of the EU’s impact on domestic workers and industry, VAS claimed that the EU ‘when working well, is the best way to bring supranational market forces under control’ (VAS 2003), and argued for a ‘socially responsible’ EU to develop as a ‘new democratic forum’ (VAS 1995b). Such an EU would be transparent in its decision making, demilitarized, with greater emphasis on equality, environmental and workers’ protection, the defence of the ‘Nordic welfare state model’, more use of referenda and a greater role for the European Parliament. Accordingly, VAS did not formally oppose either joining the EU in 1995, the adoption of the Euro, or the proposed EU constitutional treaty, taking decisions marginally in favour after protracted and occasionally bitter party discussion (Dunphy 2004). VAS’ stance was not only confused but it deprived the party of a key identity marker vis-à-vis the Social Democratic Party (SDP). Indeed, one of its consistent problems is its inability to exploit voters’ discontent with the SDP (Tuominen 2009). In contrast, the Swedish V made Euroscepticism and feminism its raisons d’être. On closer inspection, VAS is a divided party ‘still searching for its ideological and political place’ (Andersson 1995: 2). The three key intra-party tendencies are (ibid.; Dunphy 2007): first, the ‘modern left’ (the party majority, supported by trade unionists and workers in the most successful sections of Finnish industry), which supports a pragmatic line towards government participation and EU integration; second, a weak but vocal ‘populist’ left, anti-establishment, most critical of globalization, government participation and increased EU integration, gaining most support from marginalized workers and the former SKP ‘minority’; finally, a ‘third’ eco-feminist left, supported by intellectuals, women and younger supporters in VAS’ Left Youth group, which endorses governmental participation but is concerned by the dilution of radical identity implied by it. The VAS leadership’s relatively laissez-faire attitude to party divisions (e.g. over government participation and attitudes to the EU/NATO) has prevented full-scale splits (Dunphy 2010). However, VAS continues to suffer policy incoherence, lack of strategic flexibility and occasional defections to the SDP to the right. For instance, Matti Viialainen, a leading party trade unionist, long argued for the merger of VAS with the SDP before resigning in 2006. To the left, the re-founded Finnish Communist Party (SKP), which re-emerged from VAS in 1997, is not a significant electoral threat (polling just 0.7 per cent nationally), but has added to VAS’ electoral stagnation. Most damaging was the abrupt March 2006 resignation of VAS leader Siimes, partially prompted by her failure to get VAS to commit to greater involvement

Democratic socialists or social democrats? 99 in EU and NATO military cooperation. Siimes was regarded as a charismatic ‘photogenic, youthful and eloquent leader’ who had helped cement VAS’ respectable, green and feminist image (Karvonen 2006). Her exceptionally harsh criticism of VAS (which she left altogether in 2007) published just before March 2007 elections exposed VAS to public humiliation by infighting, when endless media speculation about its demise caused ‘incalculable’ damage (Dunphy 2010: 79). Siimes claimed never really to have been a ‘socialist of any kind’, argued that VAS’ modernization was a façade, and declared it was unfit for government office unless it shed the allegedly ‘evil’ pro-Moscow unreconstructed communist ‘nostalgia movement’ led by Jaako Laakso, allegedly behind the parliamentary group’s reflex opposition to government participation, EU integration and NATO (Helsingin Sanomat 2007). Electorally, VAS held a stable 9–11 per cent of the national, European parliament and local council vote in the 1990s. However, it never surpassed the 13.4 per cent achieved by SKDL/DEVA in 1987, and thereafter its vote has steadily declined, reaching a new low of 8.1 per cent and 14 of 200 Eduskunta (parliament) seats in April 2011, this after a disastrous 2009 European election performance (5.9 per cent). Electoral problems are compounded by electoral arithmetic. Although Finland is no longer a case of Sartori’s polarized multipartism, it is still a PR-based system without an electoral threshold where 9–10 parties have regularly held parliamentary seats, the social democrats are relatively weak (never polling more than 28 per cent) and the entire left and Greens together poll less than 45 per cent. Coalitions have acquired an ‘anything goes’ character with parties converging around the centre and able to govern with one another (Arter 2007). Therefore VAS’ experience in government in two ‘rainbow coalitions’ from 1995–1999 and 1999–2003 was not just with the centre-left (SDP, Greens) but the centre-right (National Coalition Party and Swedish People’s Party). This was problematic both ideologically, in terms of the pro-EU direction of its fellow parties and the first rainbow government’s cuts to housing subsidies for the unemployed, unemployment benefit and pensions, and electorally, in terms of demonstrating that its two (of 17) cabinet ministers had any concrete achievements. However, the majority within VAS gradually acclimatized to the compromises involved (Dunphy 2007).2 Although government participation damaged VAS’ vote only marginally (the loss of 2 parliamentary seats and 1.3 per cent of the vote from 1995–2003), the government’s economic successes (such as employment creation) did not boost it. Nor was VAS able to capitalize on its period in opposition to the Centre-SDPPeople’s Party government from 2003–2007, despite the declining popularity of the SDP. Despite observing a critical distance from the new government’s rightwards direction, attacking proposed privatization and social security cuts, the party’s internal divisions increased, and it was unable to develop a qualitatively new strategic direction, either as a more anti-establishment, anti-EU ‘populist party’ concentrating on the marginalized working class, or a greener party focused on the youth as the ‘third left’ argued (ibid). Further obstacles are associated with the Finnish elected presidency which, despite a downgrading in 2000, still has foreign policy and appointment

10.3c

4.5

14.4

10.1

7.9

2.9

6.2 2.7

7.3

8.3

1994

3.4

1993

1.7

1991 1992

14.3

11.2

1995

5.1

1996

6.0

12.0 8.6

7.5

2.7

1997 1998

Notes a as the Social Democratic Labour Party in coalition with the Estonian United People’s Party b as Estonian Left Party; in 2011 ran on lists of People’s Union of Estonia c in 1989/1990 as Greek Left in coalition with KKE d as part of Coalition of Radical Left (SYRIZA) e until 1998 as People’s Alliance (AB) * as social democratic party.

Source: www.parties-and-elections.de (data correct on 20 May 2011).

Denmark (EL) Denmark (SF) Estonia (EÜVP) Finland (VAS) Greece (SYN) Iceland (VG)e Luxembourg (LÉNK) Norway (SV) Portugal (Bloco) Sweden (V) Ukraine (SPU)

1990

2.4

3.3

9.1

10.9

6.1a

1999

2000

12.5

3.2

6.4

2.4

2001

Table 5.1 Relevant democratic socialist parties in pan-European parliamentary elections, 1990–2011

8.4 (6.9)*

2.8

8.8

9.9

0.4a

2002 2003

1.9

2004

6.4

8.8

3.3

6.0

3.4

2005

14.3

5.0d

8.8

0.1b

13.8

2.2

2007

5.9 (5.7)* (2.9)*

2006

9.8

6.2

3.3

21.7

4.6d

2008 2009

5.6

2010

8.1



2011

Democratic socialists or social democrats? 101 prerogatives. Although a weaker office than in France, it gives a similar boost to major party leaders as the nuclei of the left and right. In 2000 and 2006 VAS supported the victorious SDP candidate Tarja Halonen in the first round, and did not run its own candidate. This at least saved it the embarrassment of 1994, when party leader Andersson polled just 3.8 per cent running independently, but certainly contributed to its difficulties in carving out a distinct image from the SDP. More constraining still for VAS’s options is the strong performance of Finland’s Green League, which gained a foothold in parliament in 1983 when the SKP was still preoccupied with internal struggles. The Greens have polled strongly since, particularly attracting the younger, urban middle class, reaching 8.5 per cent in the 2007 parliamentary elections (though falling back to 7.2 per cent in 2011 after participating in government). Despite moderate policies (pro-European and ‘neither left, nor right’), the Greens much complicate VAS’ ability to present itself as a feminist and post-materialist party, expanding beyond an ageing, geographically and economically marginal blue-collar core vote (Dunphy 2004). VAS’ image remains ‘old-fashioned and male-dominated’ (Tuominen 2009). Accordingly, VAS faces arguably greater challenges today than on formation in 1990 regarding the transferability of its Soviet ideological, strategic and personnel heritage, the utility of its government participation, the clarity of its positions on EU integration, its openness to new constituencies, and its relationship with the much larger SDP. Whether VAS has even developed a stable post-communist identity is doubtful. Only after Martti Korhonen (aiming at political consensus and listening to the membership) succeeded Siimes in 2006 did VAS develop a more consistent direction (on paper) which sought to appeal to the sentiments of the ‘populist’ and ‘third left’ tendencies. Post-election, its June 2007 post-programme for the first time defined itself as an anti-capitalist party, stressing that ‘it is time to challenge global capitalism . . . with solidarity and a sustainable alternative’, reemphasized that VAS ‘identifies itself with socialist thinking’, with socialism defined as ‘democracy and real freedom for all’ alongside the regulation of economic activity and the re-distribution of income and wealth (VAS 2007). VAS hardened its position on EU integration, stating that, with neo-liberal politics, ‘the EU does not deserve the trust of the European people’ (ibid.) and arguing that the EU should ‘listen to its citizens’ and conduct popular referenda on the Lisbon Treaty (NELF 2007). However, Dunphy (2010) argues that this newly found consistency was ‘too little, too late’ to undo the perception of a publicly divided party in near-terminal decline, not least because VAS’ practical positions were as confused as ever. For example, 12 of its 17 MPs voted to reject the Lisbon Treaty in June 2008, whereas 5, including Korhonen, voted yes (Helsingin Sanomat 2008). In June 2009, VAS lost its one remaining MEP, shedding younger voters to the Greens and older voters to the right-wing populist True Finns (these parties gained 12.4 per cent and 9.8 per cent respectively).

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The June 2009 replacement of Korhonen by Paavo Arhinmäki, the charismatic 32-year-old leader of VAS’ eco-socialist ‘third left’, marked a new departure, given his intent to prioritize party rebuilding (while not rejecting longer-term office-seeking). Arhinmäki aims to challenge the Greens for the urban youth vote, reorientate VAS towards extra-parliamentary movements, and demarcate it strongly from other parties, including the SDP (Dunphy 2010). Symptomatic of VAS’ reorientation towards more EU-sceptic, movement-friendly politics was its joining the European Left Party (PEL) in October 2009. Arhinmäki has succeeded in partially improving VAS’ image, particularly among youth, through internetbased social media campaigns such as a campaign against the introduction of tuition fees. By 2011, some 18 per cent of the electorate could consider voting for VAS (Tuominen 2011). However, this new image has been harder to translate to votes, because VAS is still considered reactive, nostalgic towards the golden era of social democracy and unable fully to tap into more contemporary post-materialist issues (ibid.). The party’s April 2011 result (losing 3 seats and a further 0.7 per cent of the vote) showed it unable effectively to tap either into economic malaise or disaffection with both the ruling right–liberal–green coalition and the opposition SDP. As only a partial compensation, VAS stole votes from the Greens (with their worst vote share since 1995) (Helsingin Sanomat 2011b), Arhinmäki gained the fourth-largest national constituency vote (in Helsinki) and the party maintained fourth place, exceeding earlier expectations it might fall to be the seventh-largest (second smallest) Finnish party (Tuominen 2009). Nevertheless, the election was marked by the spectacular success of the populist True Finns, who gained a 19 per cent vote share (more than quadrupling their 2007 result). This achievement was based not just on xenophobic anti-Islam positions but also articulating socio-economic discontent, for example by opposing the EU bailout of Portugal and presenting themselves as a ‘workers’ party without socialism’ (Helsingin Sanomat 2011b). Given that the True Finns have rule out entering government, they will remain a strong challenger to VAS’ protest role. However, the 2011 elections cleared out some of VAS’ ‘old guard’. With a new 2011 parliamentary group that is younger and more female-dominated than before, and an experience in Helsinki of winning on a platform offering a ‘new type of left party, more democratic, emancipatory, participatory and ecologically oriented’ (Holm 2011), VAS may finally be able to confront its long-term problems with acquiring a more consistent, forward-looking post-materialist and post-communist identity.

The Socialist People’s Party: from true red to pure green? The SF is the oldest new left party, in 2009 marking 50 years since its foundation by Aksel Larsen, the former leader of the Danish Communist Party (DKP), whom the DKP expelled in 1958 for supporting Nikita Khrushchev’s deStalinization process. From the outset, the SF emphasized its foreign policy independence, patriotism, non-dogmatic interpretation of Marxism and democracy, discarding democratic centralism (Dunphy 2004). Its electoral breakthrough in

Democratic socialists or social democrats? 103 1960 was heavily reliant on Larsen’s charismatic reputation and the DKP’s intransigence. The 6.1 per cent of the national vote the SF achieved was more than the DKP had attained since 1947, and with just 1.1 per cent and no seats the latter was consigned to the political margins (until a brief return to parliament in the 1970s). However, after 1968, the SF was able to maintain and expand beyond the working class by increasing its espousal of new left issues – neutrality, solidarity with the third world, anti-nuclear environmentalism, feminism and opposition to the EEC, marking its profile as a non-Soviet, non-communist, unorthodox, dynamic and flexible party. Increasingly, the SF took on opposition to the EEC as its calling card – the only parliamentary party in the 1972 membership referendum to do so (Dunphy 2004). The collapse of the USSR occurred when the SF was not just an established actor on the Danish political scene but flourishing – it had polled what is still its all-time national maximum of 14.6 per cent in the 1987 Folketing (parliament) elections in the aftermath of the 1986 referendum ratification of the Single European Act (establishing the single European market and greater political cooperation) where the SF joined the (ultimately unsuccessful) ‘No’ campaign. Indeed, it was not the fall of communism but increasing European integration that caused the party significant problems from the early 1990s onwards. Until 1986, it supported withdrawal from the EEC on the basis that this was an undemocratic, militaristic bloc detrimental to Danish interests but, especially after the SEA defeat, began to recognize that EC/EU membership was a fact, to struggle for reform within the EC/EU, and to open itself to government participation (Christensen 1996). By the 1990s, the party’s position on the EU was evolving so much that it was increasingly a soft Eurosceptic (selectively integrationist), and not Euro-rejectionist party (the demand to take Denmark out of the EU was finally dropped in 1999). SF supported engagement in the EU as a ‘political battlefield’, fighting for further integration where it increased workers’, women’s and environmental protection and did not lead to greater federalism or military infrastructure (SF 2000). This position evolved with zigzags and fudges to accommodate disagreements between ‘pro-integrationists’ (perhaps a third of the membership) seeking to work within the EU to open the party to a governing role, and ‘traditionalists’, who saw EU reform as fruitless, and who were wary about losing distinctiveness from the Social Democrats (Dunphy 2004). For instance, the SF campaigned for a ‘No’ vote in referenda on the Maastricht and Amsterdam treaties (1992/1998) and the adoption of the Euro (2000) but was a key player in supporting the ‘national compromise’ at the December 1992 Edinburgh EC meeting. All parliamentary parties but the radical right Progress Party agreed to four opt-outs from the Maastricht Treaty, in particular monetary union and the military dimension, which eventually secured the Treaty’s approval by referendum in May 1993. Policy incoherence and party disputes (which, because of the party’s democratic internal culture were often very public) contributed in large part to the electoral decline noted in Table 5.1 (Christensen 2010). However, increasing public support for the EU within Denmark (from under 40 per cent in the 1980s to approximately 60 per cent in the 2000s) helped the party clarify its position. By 2004, little remained

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of its Euroscepticism (Knudsen 2004). In December 2004, a majority of party members (63.8 per cent) approved the EU draft constitution in an intra-party referendum. The SF remained much more than a single-issue party. It moved far from its origins to become one of the greenest parties on the European left, far more convincing in this regard than VAS. It committed itself to a socialism which ‘unites Red and Green perspectives and a democratic outlook’ based on a pluralist and economic democracy and environmentalism, with the strategic aim of pressuring the centre-left ‘in a socialist way’ to transform and not merely administer capitalism (SF 2000). It supported a ‘two-leg’ policy orientated both to parliamentary work and social movements, including trade unions, feminist, environmental and consumer networks (SF 2005). However, this greening has proved problematic in terms of the party’s ‘socialist’ identity, and the prospect of SF becoming simply a non-radical ‘red–green’ party akin to the Dutch GreenLeft is evident. The NGL shares a strong regional identity, a willingness to break down boundaries between red and green, and an aversion both to federalism and Stalinist totalitarianism, which have fuelled its unwillingness to participate fully in any left international initiatives that (to it) might smack of supra-nationalism or communism. However, in terms of its activity at EU level, the SF has recently preferred red to green. After the demise of the European parliamentary Group for a United European Left, SF sat with the Greens in 1992–4 before joining the United European Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) group. Yet after the 2004 European elections, the SF again defected from GUE/NGL when its new MSP, the moderate Margrete Auken (who replaced the Eurosceptic Pernille Frahm) joined the Greens–European Free Alliance on the grounds that she strongly opposed some of the GUE/NGL parties and found it impossible to get any work done.3 This was a controversial step and caused a lot of intra-party debate. However, despite her lack of prior consultation with the SF executive board, most within the SF agreed ‘that the decision was for the better’.4 It was certainly consistent with other aspects of the SF’s international activity: it has been an observer member of the European Green Party since 2000 and did not join the PEL after 2004. Its current two MEPs rejoined the Greens–EFA group after the 2009 European elections. Domestically, the SF has faced an electoral and constitutional environment that has both stimulated and challenged its policy moderation. Like Finland, Denmark has a large number of electorally relevant parties (eight gained parliamentary seats in 2007). Moreover, the Danish Social Democratic Party (S) is now much weakened, polling roughly 25 per cent in the 2000s, a loss of over 10 per cent since the 1990s, and in 2001 losing its leading position to the conservative Liberal party. Compared with Finland, Denmark has a stronger left–right divide and, although politics is characterized by consensual pragmatism, trans-ideological ‘anything goes’ Finnish coalitions are rare – S has traditionally allied with small centrist parties rather than the right. The prospects for S have decreased alongside relative economic prosperity and a marked rightwards shift in Danish politics since the late 1990s. National election campaigns have focussed less on unemployment, economic and environmental issues than the so-called ‘immigration

Democratic socialists or social democrats? 105 crisis’ – particularly the growing (but still small) number of Muslims – issues much politicized by the right-populist Danish People’s Party (Andersen 2003). Although the SF was long regarded as ‘non-coalitionable’, S’ decline has raised the possibility of a ‘left–left’ coalition, particularly as the foreign policy gap between the pro-EU S and the Eurosceptic SF has narrowed, and SF now favours a ‘Red-Centre’ alliance with S and the Social Liberal party (RV), although RV remains hesitant (Christensen 2010).5 S’ continued troubles weaken claims that they alone can prevent right-wing attacks on the welfare state, a tactic they last successfully employed to win in 1998 (Qvortrup 2002). This has given rise to a number of floating ‘general left’ voters, who have gravitated either to the SF or RV (Christensen 2007). The floating left vote has given the SF increased room to compete with S and RV without necessarily weakening the left vote as a whole. Moreover, the greening of SF has continued to prevent a strong Green party challenging the SF for white-collar votes (as in Finland). All of these factors, alongside the frequent constitutionally guaranteed referenda on the EU, which can act as a safety-valve for internal party tensions, and the government’s ability to call snap parliamentary elections, have further contributed to pressures for greater parliamentary and policy flexibility (Christensen 1996; Dunphy 2004). However, the SF does not have complete leeway. Its relative greening and policy moderation (particular on the EU question) have largely vacated the anti-EU, anti-establishment vote both to the populist anti-EU Danish People’s Party on the right (nearly doubling its vote to 13.8 per cent between 1998 and 2007) and to the left, where the SF, alone of the NGL parties, faces a durable and relevant competitor. The Red–Green Alliance (Enhedslisten, EL) was founded in 1989 by the DKP, the Left Socialist Party and Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party and attracted Maoists and independent socialists. In domestic politics, EL has promoted a similar mix of ‘democratic socialist’ red–green themes to SF, albeit with a far stronger ‘class-conscious’ emphasis. SF and EL have often collaborated both in parliament, for example in 1994– 2001 offering conditional support to the S minority government, and in extraparliamentary activity, where they have cooperated in such events as the Danish Social Forum and anti-Iraq war demonstrations. However, EL retains a strong ‘revolutionary’ self-identity with an anti-establishment image (EL 2003). In parliament, it acts as a ‘watchdog’ opposing neo-liberalism, and opposes any lasting coalition with S, whereas the SF increasingly sees itself as a party actively seeking to influence decision making. On the EU question, EL supports a staunchly Euro-rejectionist position, arguing that ‘the EU must be dismantled and replaced by democratic international co-operation between independent states with a fullfledged democracy, and focusing on full employment, solidarity, human rights and the environment’ (EL 2002). However, EL joined the European Left Party in 2010 (having previously been an observer), which, alongside its long-standing preference for grass-roots democracy, indicates that it should now be regarded a ‘radical’ rather than ‘extreme’ actor (cf. Johansen 2010). EL gained its first foothold in parliament in 1994 (see Table 5.1) gaining defections from SF over its perceived ‘sell-out’ during the Edinburgh agreement

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(Thomsen 1995). Nevertheless, EL has been unable to capitalize fully and consistently on SF’s moderation, owing to internal disagreements and mistakes. For example, choosing Asmaa Abdol-Hamid as a 2007 parliamentary elections candidate was a controversial choice for a left-libertarian party. Abdol-Hamid, a gaffeprone religious conservative (refusing to shake hands with men and not opposing the death penalty) attracted immigrant votes but was subject to fierce attacks from the right, perhaps helping EL lose two of six parliamentary seats and a third of its vote in 2007, mostly to the SF (Kosiara-Pedersen 2008). Given its previous policy confusion and political competition, the SF’s result in the 2007 Folketing elections, where it more than doubled its vote (from 6.0 to 13.4 per cent) and parliamentary representation (from 11 to 23 of 197 seats), gaining its best national result since 1988 and leaping from sixth to fourth most popular party, was little short of sensational. In part the result was due to factors out of the party’s control: the so-called ‘cartoons crisis’ – the publication of twelve cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in a Danish daily newspaper in September 2005 and the profoundly negative reaction in the Muslim world several months later – resulted in a polarization of the Danish electorate and an immediate increase in votes for parties such as the SF who demanded investigation into government handling of the affair (Bille 2007). After the February 2005 elections, S under new leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt started to move to the centre to deal with profound electoral stagnation, whilst RV (after some wavering) strongly supported S in the 2007 campaign. The SF capitalized on this ‘move to the right’. After the April 2005 resignation of Holger Nielsen, SF’s leader of 14 years, the new leader was Villy Søvndal, an experienced MP with a leftist reputation, who sought to stake out a more principled left position on economic issues, re-emphasizing social equality and redistributive taxation (SF 2006). Indeed it was the SF’s employment of traditional left-wing rhetoric about solidarity in an election where social policy issues were back on the agenda that made it look ‘more like a guardian of welfare than the other opposition parties’ (Knudsen 2007). Søvndal is regarded as a ‘media asset’ (Johansen 2009: 51). His personal rating soon eclipsed Thorning-Schmidt’s and SF’s membership doubled in 2004–9. However, in other respects, the SF moved towards greater pragmatism and professionalism, arguing that it would join S in coalition even if it disagreed on core issues such as S’s support for an income tax freeze and more positive views of NATO (Copenhagen Post 2007). After the 2007 elections, the SF gained further popularity by breaking some of its former taboos, including supporting the deletion of two of the four EU opt-outs negotiated in 1992 (on cooperation in military and justice issues), supporting the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty without referendum and for the first time in 2008 voting for the Liberal-led government’s budget (Copenhagen Post 2008). Søvndal even harshly criticized radical Islamic organizations and immigrant violence, breaking the radical left’s tradition of blaming immigrant problems on the host state. In 2010, SF opposition to NATO began to soften, with party spokesman Ole Sohn arguing that NATO had no credible alternative (Johansen 2010: 16).

Democratic socialists or social democrats? 107 Such tendencies caused some intra-party disquiet, but allowed it to obtain a historically high 15.9 per cent and 2 MEPs in the June 2009 EP elections on a strongly environmentalist platform emphasizing social justice themes that appealed to S voters (Knudsen 2009). Increasing policy rapprochement provided a basis for SF and S in August 2009 to announce for the first time a potential coalition headed by Thorning-Schmidt with the aim of ‘ensur[ing] social redistribution, expansion of welfare and a massive climate effort’, while not excluding cooperation with RV (SF 2009). As SF argued, this was an ‘important milestone’, and early 2011 opinion polls (against the background of economic crisis) gave a probable S–SF–RV election (potentially given critical support by EL) a narrow advantage for elections to be held before November 2011. In this coalition, SF proposed to take up to a third of ministerial positions (Copenhagen Post 2011). Even in 2011 the SF describes itself as a ‘socialist party’ – socialism defined broadly as ‘giving the individual freedom to make his or her own decisions concerning personal life as well as the development of the community by means of comprehensive democracy’ (SF 2011). However, the SF’s increasing professionalization under Søvndal raises the question of whether its resurrection has been prompted mainly by occupying ground that S has vacated, whether it remains radical in any real sense, or is merely offering a marginally redder and greener social democratic facsimile.

The Portuguese Left Bloc: a new ‘new left’ Compared with the aforementioned parties, the Left Bloc (Bloco de Esquerda, normally called ‘Bloco’), founded only in 1999, is a political newcomer. Bloco emerged as an electoral coalition of three parties with a long-standing, if marginal place on the political scene, the Maoist People’s Democratic Union, Trotskyist Revolutionary Socialist Party (PSR), and communist dissident Politics XXI, all of which had moved increasingly towards electoral and policy co-ordination throughout the 1990s. As a ‘broad left’ party originating from the revolutionary left, Bloco has currently less in common with the Danish SF than the EL (and indeed other broad left parties such as the Scottish Socialist Party), although it has evolved in a less Marxist direction than EL, and a less populist direction than the SSP. However, its political position is evolving such that it is increasingly playing the role of a red–green left–libertarian pioneer, as did the SF long before. Bloco was formed from several conjunctures. One was the Portuguese revolutionary tradition which the increasingly ossified Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) has been unable to articulate. Long vying with the KKE as the most ‘Stalinist’ of contemporary CPs, the PCP has struggled to change its conception of Portugal as a third-world country that could be rescued from European capitalism by socialist revolution (Dunphy 2004).6 Throughout the 1990s, rhetoric of renovation petered out, leaving an ageing and defensive party rooted in a declining male working class, and ill-prepared to engage with structural changes engendered by Portugal’s post-1986 EU membership, including sturdy economic growth, increasing employment and the growth of the tertiary sector (before steep

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recession since the 2000s). Bloco offered a home for radical activists alienated by the PCP’s dogmatism and the increasingly ‘Blairite’ centre-left Socialist Party (PS) (Socialist Worker 2005). Moreover, defeat for the left in a referendum to decriminalize abortion in 1998 and sentiments of solidarity with the anti-Indonesian independence movement in the former Portuguese colony of East Timor from 1999 onwards encouraged the non-communist revolutionary left to unite (Louçã 2008; Reis 2008). Originally more a movement than party, with collective leadership and close links with social movements, by 2005 Bloco had become a fully fledged party under the leadership of Francisco Louçã, a former revolutionary activist, economics professor and head of the PSR. Its constituent parties transformed themselves into associations (e.g. the PSR became ‘Revolutionary Socialist Politics’). Bloco retained some new left features, like a non-disciplinarian ‘diffuse power structure’ with much internal democracy and weak local organization; however, under Louçã it became increasingly centralized and media-orientated, while maintaining a cooperative internal culture (Lisi 2009: 8; Tsakatika 2010). Initially, Bloco articulated a broad, anti-establishment image as an outsider party designed to ‘break the mould’ of politics. Its founders saw it as a non-sectarian unity focused alliance with an identity arising ‘out of a programme for the present and not from a discussion of the past or an attempt at ideological purification’ (Soeiro 2009: 177). Revolutionary rhetoric, even mention of socialism, was abandoned in favour of attempting to gain social majorities behind ‘concrete, democratic, anti-capitalistic proposals’ (Reis 2008) as ‘a popular, pluralistic, combative and influential left’ (Bloco 1999). Bloco aimed to avoid ‘excessive theoretical discussion on the nature of socialism . . . which cannot be an immediate objective’ (Louçã 2008). Certainly, Bloco’s early appeals focussed more on what it opposed than proposed: it attacked globalization as a ‘civilization of injustice’ and the EU as the largest ‘internal market’ of globalization (Bloco 1999). Its 1999 and 2002 campaigns were ‘to the point, irreverent, taking up clear political causes [including redistributive taxation and the disestablishment of the Catholic Church] and deliberately seeking to upset the established powers’, aiming to attract the politically excluded and marginalized (Vitorino 2002). Bloco gained a foothold in parliament in 1999 with two MPs, including Louçã. In its first parliamentary term, it largely mirrored the Danish EL’s ‘watchdog’ role, rendering ad hoc support to the PS minority government (whilst regarding it as irredeemably neo-liberal), and maintaining links with extra-parliamentary movements such as the emerging World Social Forums and the anti-EU ‘European Anti-Capitalist Left’ (EACL) (see Chapter 7) which had its first meeting in Lisbon in 2000. However, isolated by the centre-right government in parliament in 2002–5, Bloco moved towards a more constructive office-seeking profile ‘increasingly concerned with displaying . . . coalition potential and sharing power responsibility’ (Lisi 2009: 136). Although PS and Bloco have continually formally rejected coalition (and their ideological distance renders it nearimpossible), Bloco has increasingly attempted to convey an image of competence and professionalism in order to compete for PS votes.

Democratic socialists or social democrats? 109 Indicatively, Bloco’s 2005–2011 parliamentary manifestos (under the rubric of ‘the ‘Left of Confidence’, ‘Programme for a Government’ and ‘Change the Future’ respectively) were lengthy and complex, designed to show ‘how a government that respects social justice and fights inequality should act’ (e.g. Bloco 2009). Each proposed a reinforcement of traditional state intervention (e.g. opposing privatization, nationalizing private hospitals), the extension of citizens’ rights (e.g. protection from racism and homophobia, improvement of prison conditions) and supported withdrawal of Portuguese forces from Iraq/Afghanistan. Bloco also evolved from total opposition to the EU, now arguing for a ‘left-Europeanism’– a European social model based on full employment, gender equality, protection from poverty, social equity and ecological sustainability. The watering down of traditional commitments such as a 35-hour week and party list gender quotas caused some internal disquiet, leading to intra-party calls for explicitly socialist policies to break with capitalism, and a more critical attitude to the governing PS (Bloco 2006a). In response, several party platforms reinforced a militant image, describing Bloco as a ‘socialist alternative’ with the capacity to build platforms and a plural majority of resistance to militarism and privatization. Rhetoric towards the EU was hardened too, as Bloco denounced the proposed EU constitution as imposing a ‘market without true citizenship’, a fraud and subversion of democracy, proposing instead a directly elected two-chamber European parliament (Bloco 2006b, 2007). Bloco remained at the forefront of extra-parliamentary campaigns, such as opposition to the US-led Iraq war, and student movements against university fees in 2002–3. Bloco consolidated in the 2004 EU elections, attaining 4.9 per cent (up 2.2 per cent since the 2002 parliamentary elections) and electing its first MEP. But its real sensation was in 2009, gaining 10.7 per cent and 3 MEPs in June and 9.8 per cent and 16 of 230 Assembleia da República seats in September (double its previous representation). In several respects the Portuguese socio-economic and electoral environment has been ideal for the left compared with the relatively prosperous Nordic countries. Since 2001, the economy has performed catastrophically, and after the 2008 economic crisis the financial and economic situation was arguably the worst since the 1930s, with unemployment reaching a record high of 11.2 per cent in 2011. Even before 2008, austerity measures needed to comply with the European Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) had already drastically hit support for the EU in traditionally one of the most Europhile countries (Eurobarometer 2008). The 2005 election prompted the collapse of the incompetent centre-right Social Democratic Party (PSD) government and a major shift leftwards (all left parties increased their votes, including the communists and the PS, who gained a bestever 45 per cent) (Magone 2006). But José Sócrates’ PS government was unable to repeat its performance in 2009. Cuts to the health and education sectors had little positive impact on economic growth and merely incentivized public strikes which Bloco and the PCP supported. Continued economic decline and corruption scandals meant the PS returned as a minority government in 2009 with their worst vote since 1991 (36.6 percent). Victory was only possible since the PSD failed to represent a credible alternative (Lisi 2010).

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Strong domestic left traditions have also benefited Bloco. For example, the very name of the centre-right PSD reflects the central role the left played in the 1974 revolution (Hamann and Manuel 1999). Although strong polarization between left and right and party loyalties have declined (Lobo 2002), the combined left remains strong – periodically, including in 2005, topping 50 per cent of the vote. At the same time, elements of Portuguese society remain deeply conservative. In particular, the Catholic Church retains a strong role, demonstrated by Portugal’s strict laws on abortion, which criminalized it with prison sentences except in extreme cases (e.g. rape). All told, Bloco has sought to exploit a defined but unoccupied niche both as the heir to revolutionary traditions allegedly abandoned by the PCP, and in particular as a new politics party attracting those under-represented by the PS and PCP, both of which retain a primarily old politics identity. Accordingly, Bloco has acted as an opinion former on civil rights, achieving the approval of legislation on cohabitation rights, domestic violence, same-sex civil partnerships, soft drugs liberalization and abortion, which was finally decriminalized in 2007, in part through active Bloco pressure on the PS. Hence, Bloco has attracted younger, urban, whitecollar, and educated voters, becoming by 2008 the third most popular party among youth, partly through active use of new social media (Reis 2008; Louçã 2010). It developed strong support in larger, predominately urban districts such as Lisbon, Porto and Setúbal, a former PS and communist working-class stronghold close to Lisbon. In 2005–2009 the party spread its appeal to younger, educated voters in larger districts. With an improved performance in local elections (383 local representatives in 2011 compared with 78 in 2001), Bloco was increasingly a nationwide organization (Bloco 2011). So far, electoral arithmetic has encouraged Bloco to maintain a niche position distinct from the PS and has not involved it in the messy compromises of its NGL cousins. For example, Portugal’s national electoral system (d’Hondt method PR with a large number of very small constituencies) imposes an informal electoral threshold and contributes to consistent under-representation of smaller blocs in the national parliament (Álvarez-Rivera 2006). In 2005, Bloco’s 6.4 per cent vote translated into just over three per cent of seats, whilst the PS’ 53 per cent of seats meant they did not require Bloco support to govern. However, whilst as in Finland, Portugal’s (largely ceremonial) elected presidency boosts the mainstream parties, Bloco initially chose to run independently in presidential elections in order to remain in the public eye. This strategy did not gain significant electoral advances (with just 3.0 per cent in 2001 and 5.32 in 2006), but certainly helped Louçã (the 2006 candidate) become a recognized media asset. In 2011, Bloco supported PS left-winger Manuel Alegre as part of its appeal to disaffected PS voters, although Alegre gained just 19.75 per cent and lost in the first round. As in Denmark, Bloco’s left-libertarian position has not been so far threatened by a significant green party. The Ecological Party ‘The Greens’ (PEV), has since 1987 been in alliance with the PCP as part of the United Democratic Coalition (CDU), and is widely regarded as the PCP’s electoral satellite. Since

Democratic socialists or social democrats? 111 2006, Bloco has developed a more eco-socialist image to occupy this niche. For instance its 2009 parliamentary manifesto argued that ‘the alternative is today, more than ever, between environmental disaster and eco-socialism’ (Bloco 2009). However, though ageing, the PCP is not disappearing imminently, and remains the chief challenge to Bloco’s role as red–green Eurosceptic critic of neoliberalism. The PCP’s post-2004 leader Jerónimo Carvalho de Sousa presided over a partial revival in the 2005 general and 2006 presidential elections (7.6 and 8.6 per cent respectively) after six years of continued decline, although with 7.9 per cent in 2009 it still had fewer actual votes than in 1999. The revival was achieved less by change of policy (de Sousa was seen as a traditionalist) than of image – he offered a less dogmatic and more flexible media personality that sought to reinforce the PCP’s anti-EU and eco-friendly credentials alongside a vigorous dose of nationalist anti-Americanism akin to Latin American left-populism (Magone 2007). Relations between Bloco and the PCP have moved from frosty to more pragmatic under de Sousa. Bloco has consistently adopted a ‘unitary’ position towards the rest of the left, trying to mobilize left-wing socialists and the communists to maximize the current against neo-liberalism (Louçã 2010). Although they fundamentally differ over the EU (e.g. the PCP is far more sceptical about the possibilities of European cooperation via such initiatives as the European Left Party), the two parties have increasingly cooperated in the Portuguese parliament. Initially, the PCP defended its ‘vanguard role’ and saw Bloco as a political upstart (PCP 2005b). However, prior to the June 2011 elections, with the right-wing Social Democrats in the ascendant, each party agreed to campaign (separately) in the interests of a ‘left-patriotic alternative’ against the Right (PCP 2011). In any case, although Bloco has a much younger, more educated electorate, it appears unlikely to be able to supplant the PCP soon. The PCP retains some residual strength among student unions, and is still far stronger locally – at the last local elections in 2009 it held 28 (of 301) town councils compared with Bloco’s one (EIRO 2009). Moreover, whilst Bloco has made inroads into the Communists’ working-class support, for example in the leather-working and shoe-making unions, and has a majority in Portugal’s biggest workplace, Ford-Volkswagen, in Setúbal (Reis 2008), the PCP still has the overwhelming advantage among organized labour. Notably, Portugal’s largest trade union federation, the General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (CGTP), headed by PCP member, Manuel Carvalho da Silva, is still a PCP transmission belt. Similarly, Bloco has run into limits in exploiting discontent with the PS, from whom it got most new votes in 2009 (Louçã 2010). Initially, José Sócrates’ minority PS government (mustering just 97 of 230 parliamentary seats and thereby constantly needing to negotiate with other parties) gave Bloco much-enhanced leverage. With Sócrates in 2009–11 proposing several rounds of EU-mandated austerity measures to remedy Portugal’s debt crisis, Bloco produced a flurry of legislative initiatives of its own, including increasing taxes on financial transfers and personal fortunes, increasing the role of state banks in debt management and

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job creation through public housing programmes (Bloco 2010; Louçã 2010). In this way Bloco leader Alda Sousa (2010) expected that: The [PS], in a minority . . . will be forced to choose between the proposals of the left, as we will present them arising out of our programme and our mandate –among others, repeal of the employment law, a tax on large fortunes to finance social security –or join the [People’s Party] on the reactionary right. Bloco could thus again be an opinion-former, demonstrating its constructive leftwing alternatives. Certainly, Sócrates’ austerity measures backfired, promoting further economic decline and huge public demonstrations in November 2010 and March 2011. His government finally fell when all parliamentary opposition parties rejected a savage austerity package that Sócrates had (fatally) negotiated with Brussels before he did with Lisbon, necessitating new elections in June 2011 and an EU bailout. Yet opinion polls showed the main beneficiaries likely to be the centre-right Social Democrats. Bloco looked unlikely to improve its 2009 rating: a potential right-wing victory meant disgruntled socialists might return to the PS to cast an anti-right ‘useful vote’, whilst the PCP’s more intransigent positions remain attractive to protest voters. Overall, while Bloco has carved out a distinct niche in the party system, it still faces significant obstacles in expanding beyond this niche to becoming the PS’ principal left-wing interlocutor.

Eastern Europe: the democratic socialist vacuum Even a cursory glance at Eastern Europe makes the near-complete absence of nationally relevant democratic socialist parties striking (see Table 5.1). As we have noted, the predominant RLPs are either CPs or (more usually) social democratic ‘successor parties’. Without exception, those Eastern democratic socialist parties that are now members of the PEL (see Chapter 8), such as the Romanian Socialist Alliance and Czech Party of Democratic Socialism, have been tiny parties without national parliamentary representation. Symptomatically, the Estonian United Left Party, which held two national parliamentary seats in 1999–2003 in coalition with the Russian-minority Estonian United People’s Party, got 0.1 per cent of the vote in 2007, fewer votes than members!7 Democratic socialists have formed intra-party tendencies in the social democratic successors since 1991, and significant proportions of these parties’ voters are nostalgic for elements of state socialism (Dauderstädt et al. 1999). One relatively influential group is the Hungarian Socialist Party’s Left Platform, headed by former Social Policy Minister Péter Kiss, which has consistently sought to maneouvre the party leadership away from neo-liberalism. However, these tendencies have never been dominant, nor able to consistently draw their party’s policies in a more radical direction. Indeed, two partial exceptions prove the rule: For example, whilst in government in the mid-1990s, the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and the Social Democratic Party of Romania (PDSR, now PSD) promoted a mixture of anti-market, anti-IMF slogans and residual attachment to Marxist

Democratic socialists or social democrats? 113 and communist verities (Murer 2002). Even then, these parties’ mixture of social democratic, nationalist and communist slogans made them examples of social populist parties (analysed in the next chapter) rather than convinced democratic socialists. In any case, by 2001, after electoral defeats and policy reformulation, both parties had adopted clearer ‘modern centre-Left’ stances, ultimately gaining Socialist International (SI) membership in 2003. There are several reasons for the democratic socialist vacuum: First is undoubtedly the communist legacy, which led to the lasting and comprehensive delegitimization of Marxism, socialism and class politics, particularly in the formerly national-accommodative and bureaucratic-authoritarian regimes of eastcentral Europe. Here, the 1989 revolutions were perceived as a ‘return to Europe’ which rejected the Soviet legacy as a failed experiment and threw the socialist baby out with the communist bathwater – the ‘transition to democracy’ had a basic ‘anti-socialist orientation’ (Dauderstädt et al. 1999: 75), ‘concentrating the terms of elite political debate on the right end of the political spectrum’ (Bunce 2002: 310). In some countries, such as Estonia, right-wing parties have shaped electoral preferences to such a degree that ‘left-wing ideas are not even worth considering’ (Mikkel 2006: 24). Except in the Czech Republic and the former GDR (formerly bureaucratic-authoritarian regimes with strong working-class traditions), genuine RLPs are irrelevant and marginalized. A reaction against ‘communist’ class identity and the prevalence of nation-building agendas have subsumed class politics to identity concerns (Ost 2005). Consequently, postcommunist economic anger has usually assumed nationalist-populist forms, articulated either by the radical right or quasi-left social populists (see the next chapter). It is indicative, too, that East European Greens remain marked by the environmental movement’s anti-communism. When Greens have latterly begun to mobilize the under-represented post-materialist niche in Eastern Europe, these have usually (as in Latvia, Estonia and the Czech Republic, if not Bulgaria and Slovakia), joined coalitions with the centre-right. The frequent West European combination of radical red and green appears excluded by the Eastern reds’ materialism and the Greens’ anti-communism. Second, mindful of the past communist stigma and their own potential marginalization, former ruling parties often went to huge lengths to demonstrate their reformism, respectability and contrition for the communist past. The easiest way to do this was to adopt a social democratic identity, which, since it had been so scorned by Lenin, demonstrated pro-Westernism and anti-totalitarianism simultaneously. As the preceding chapter showed, in the formerly patrimonial communist regimes of south-east Europe and the FSU, the fall of communism was much less of a ‘return to Europe’, and the communist past is less stigmatized, but even here radicalism has taken social populist or radical right forms (e.g. Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria) or communist ones (Russia, Moldova, Ukraine), in large part because the authentic democratic socialist traditions have been extinguished, and contemporary democracy remains poorly entrenched. Third, whatever the successor parties’ ideological trajectory, their ability to retain communist-era political capital and portable skills that they have translated

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into post-communist electoral success has lastingly monopolized the left, leaving little space for alternative left parties (either ‘historic’ social democratic parties existing before the communist takeover or the non-communist radical left). Only in the Czech Republic (where the KSČM pursued a ‘subcultural’ strategy) has the successor party not been the dominant left force. Moreover, all successor parties, even those that have followed neo-liberal policies in office, have sought to monopolize ‘nationally authentic socialism’, relying heavily on the nostalgic welfarist and paternalistic sentiments of the socialist value culture. For instance, the Social Democratic Party of Croatia inherited voters nostalgic for the old regime and has described the former Yugoslav leader Tito and his Partisan movement in glowing terms.8 The BSP also remains one of the most (formally) left-wing of the social democratic successors, claiming to be a Marxist party and still declaring allegiance to ‘modern democratic socialism’ (BSP 2006). Finally, the international context has contributed towards the rapid deradicalization of much of the East European left. The complete discrediting of the communist economic model, followed by rapid post-communist decline, with the active interest of the Euro-Atlantic political and economic institutions (principally the EU, IMF and World Bank), combined to foster the ‘dependent modernization’ of post-communist Europe (above all east-central Europe). Particularly in the 1990s, ‘Western guidance, discipline and influence’ actively shaped post-communist economic and political development (Nagle and Mahr 1999: 273), with economic conditionality, financial discipline and privatization being de rigueur as components of Europeanization. Unsurprisingly perhaps, unsuccessful periods in government fostered the policy moderation of parties such as the BSP and PDSR, as they had to swallow their dislike of the international financial institutions and market reform to extricate themselves from deep economic recession. An important conduit of de-radicalization has been the SI and its associated EU Parliamentary group the Party of European Socialists, which have actively ‘colonized’ the post-communist left. Joining the social democratic club was a vital badge of identity, legitimacy, reform and Westernization for many successor parties and, conversely, spreading influence to the East was an important way for social democracy, widely perceived to be in ‘crisis’ at the beginning of the 1990s, to restate its relevance (Delsodato 2002; Sloam 2005). Particularly since the radical left had no transnational party of its own in the early 1990s, the SI was able to attract many parties of initially somewhat questionable social democratic credentials, and act as a socialization mechanism which helped transform them further in a moderate centre-left direction. At times social democratic socialization was very interventionist – for instance the PES actively encouraged the unification of the Bulgarian left in 2001 under a social democratic banner (Spirova 2008). Perhaps the starkest example of the SI’s instrumentality was the case of the Serbian Socialist Party, the formerly authoritarian, anti-Western social populist party of Slobodan Milošević, which after a long period of abortive internal modernization was in 2008 persuaded to switch from the nationalist camp to join a pro-EU governing coalition by a combination of ‘Washington, Berlin, London, Paris and

Democratic socialists or social democrats? 115 then, decisively, George Papandreou . . . president of the Socialist International’ (Glenny 2008). The Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU), which for much of the 1990s appeared to be the sole East European example of a genuinely successful democratic socialist party, has national specificities but illustrates this general trend towards deradicalization. The party emerged from the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) during its prohibition and in 1991–4 developed a moderate Marxist-Leninist orientation, announcing its intention to build socialism and dismissing social democracy (Rakhmanin and Mostovaya 2002). Once the KPU revived, the SPU lost many members, but survived as an apparently stable ‘fellow traveller’ of the KPU until a leadership crisis destroyed it in 2007. This longevity is virtually unique in the FSU, where non-communist RLPs have consistently struggled alongside larger hegemonic CPs, and is explained by Ukraine’s unique electoral geography – historical cleavages between the predominantly Russophone and Russophile East and South (where the KPU thrived) and the Ukrainophone, Europhile Western and Central districts (where the SPU was stronger) (Wilson 2002). Although at its outset the SPU had good relations with parties as diverse as the French and Russian Communists, Serbian Socialists and Spanish United Left, it was increasingly tempted by social democracy. The victory of the Polish Democratic Left Alliance (DLA) in 1995’s presidential elections, followed by the Russian Communists’ loss in 1996, was pivotal in the SPU distancing itself from communism and aspiring to replicate the DLA’s strategy of a ‘modern European’ left-centrist alliance (Wilson 1997). The SPU never quite made it – even in 2007 its programme adhered to democratic centralism, announced its debt both to Marxism and Lenin’s ‘conception of social transformation’ (whatever that was), while announcing ‘democratic socialism’ and not social democracy as its ‘programme maximum’, albeit professing its support for Ukraine’s European future (SPU 2007). Arguably, the SPU leadership would have social democratized much further, much earlier, but had to contend with the more radically minded inclinations of its membership and several party splits, whilst the still-dominant KPU kept the SPU anchored to the left. Moreover, the non-communist left remained comprised of parties too small or too compromised to make stable allies (Wilson 2002). Nevertheless, it applied to join the SI in 1999 and was accepted as a consultative member in 2003. Overall, the SPU shows the dominance of external over domestic incentives in party social-democratization. Domestic incentives made cooperation with the communists and a radical façade imperative, and until 2005 the SPU had no governing experience which might have accelerated its moderation. Yet, even though Ukraine had no realistic EU integration prospect before the 2004 Orange Revolution, the EU exercised ‘soft power’, particularly among the population in Western areas that had belonged to Poland between the World Wars. Therefore it was logical that the SPU might be attracted to Polish ex-communists rather than Russian communists. Even though the SPU initially found the SI’s training sessions irrelevant to Ukrainian realities, the party (as with other ‘transitioning’ social

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democrats) came to see the SI as the main guarantee both of its European vocation and the transcendence of its communist past (Rakhmanin and Mostovaya 2002).

Conclusion The democratic socialist parties are a broad church, originating from different traditions and facing different environments. What they all share, however, is the search for a non-dogmatic socialism, rejecting Marxist-Leninist authoritarianism and focussing on enhancing political and economic democracy. They place less emphasis on eternal ideological verities and more on pragmatic, incremental solutions, yet retain a long-term transformative vision that is distinct from contemporary social democracy, whether it be explicitly called a socialist ‘third left’ (VAS), ‘alternative socialism’ (Bloco) or simply ‘democratic socialism’ in the case of the Danish SF. In all cases observed, the balance has been difficult to strike. In the three West European cases, democratic socialism has involved attempting to adopt the post-materialist new left agenda and becoming eco-socialist parties which raise non-conformist issues and highlight the interests of the excluded. They have sought to balance between pressuring social democracy from the outside (guaranteeing influence but threatening ‘absorption’) and becoming simple protest parties trading on Euroscepticism and anti-establishment protest (offering short-term popularity but perhaps longer-term marginality, particularly in Denmark where long-term anti-EU sentiments are in decline). The success of these endeavours is much affected by the presence of competitors for these roles, be they Greens (Finland) or other RLPs (Portugal and Denmark). All confront questions of identity: as the clearest ‘successor party’, VAS has struggled most to adopt a clear post-communist new left profile and to indicate how its time in government both positively influenced and was practically distinguished from social democracy; the SF is most electorally successful, but has adopted a profile that, whilst flexible, appears increasingly like a moderate, mainstream Green party. The increasing likelihood that it will govern alongside the social democrats will provide a stern test of its radical credentials. Only Bloco appears so far relatively untroubled by identity concerns, having monopolized the left-libertarian niche, deliberately sidestepped ideological questions and focussed on concrete, day-to-day campaigns. Yet even Bloco has faced (hotly denied) accusations that it espouses a defensive, Keynesian, agenda and that it has no consistent anti-capitalist vision (Louçã 2008), whilst its increasing search for a governing role may deprive it of some protest potential. The libertarian emphasis on grassroots democracy common to these parties has exacerbated their identity problems, because their internal and leadership tensions have occasionally been all too public. VAS has suffered the most, with communist-era grievances re-emerging and a leadership policy often at odds with its membership; the SF has minimized these grievances through internal referenda and an increasing vote-seeking strategy; Bloco has suffered least, with a strong emphasis on internal unity, and facing fewer external pressures.

Democratic socialists or social democrats? 117 To the East, democratic socialism faces far less fertile ground, with a still pervasive anti-communist legacy, and strong international and domestic pressures towards rapid social-democratization and de-radicalization. Democratic socialists usually joined the former ruling successor parties, be they social democratic or communist, or exist as micro-parties at the political margins. The Ukrainian SPU shows that even in states without a strong European integration prospect, independent parties with an initial democratic socialist direction have been unable and ultimately unwilling to resist absorption in mainstream social democracy, particularly if they never attempted seriously to form new left or extra-parliamentary identities. All in all, democratic socialism in post-communist Eastern Europe has been little more than a transitional stage in the full social-democratization (and even neo-liberalization) of the left, a fate which may still await Western Europe.

6

Left-wing populism Populist socialists and social populists

That populism can be left wing has been rediscovered relatively recently. Until the late twentieth century, populism was mainly studied as a theoretical concept, and applied little to political parties (Taggart 2000). Party populism was seen either as a predominately Latin American phenomenon, or one connected almost exclusively with the radical right (Betz and Immerfall 1998). Only with the emergence of Latin American leaders like Hugo Chávez and Evo Morales heading a wave of left-leaning regimes in the early 2000s did ‘left-populism’ gain wide currency. However, that populism is not a priori linked to any particular ideological position was always acknowledged by some – indeed, as Michael Kazin (1995) argues, prior to the 1940s, American populism was usually associated with socialist sentiments. But left-populism in Europe has only now started to gain attention (e.g. March and Mudde 2005; March 2007). Accordingly, in this chapter I flesh out the nature of European radical left-populism, after first defining the contested concept of ‘populism’ itself. In general, left-populists are ‘populist’ in that a dichotomy between the ‘moral people’ and a ‘corrupt elite’ is central to their ideology. They have far less concern with doctrinal purity or class-consciousness than the traditional left. They may adopt organizational features common to other populist parties across the political spectrum, such as the emphasis on a charismatic leader who has unmediated communication with his people and distaste for formal organization. Nevertheless, they remain ‘left’ in their emphasis on egalitarianism and the espousal of collective economic and social rights. Two main forms can be identified: populist socialist parties have a democratic socialist ideological core similar to those parties identified in Chapter 5, and should be seen as a subtype of them rather than a distinct genus – their socialist identity is still central. However, this core is overlaid with a far stronger antiestablishment appeal, greater ideological eclecticism and emphasis on particularistic identity than other democratic socialists (including espousing regionalism or even nationalism). The three West European populist socialist parties examined here are the most important cases but espouse differing degrees of populism. The German Left Party (until 2005 the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) but for convenience henceforward usually referred to as the LP) has been consistently the least populist since, although it articulates strong East German regionalist

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and anti-establishment sentiments, it is markedly internationalist and (relatively) pro-European. The Dutch Socialist Party (SP) still maintains anti-elite positions and a clear sense of national distinctiveness and Euroscepticism but has latterly moderated its populism to the degree that it may currently be regarded as simply a democratic socialist party. The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) is consistently the most populist, with an anti-elite nationalist position and its rise and fall being inextricably tied to the fortunes of its former leader Tommy Sheridan. These parties have contrasting fortunes: the LP and SP’s anti-establishment rhetoric has helped them mount serious challenges to previously dominant social democratic parties, whilst the SSP’s dramatic rise was followed by an even more emphatic demise in 2006–7, from which no recovery looks possible. Second, social populist parties have the closest resemblance to classical populist movements with a dominant personalist leadership, relatively weak organization and essentially incoherent ideology, fusing left-wing and right-wing themes behind an anti-establishment appeal. Most of these parties are not acknowledged as left wing by the radical left. Further, most are not consistently anti-capitalist or even radical, and many are ‘flash parties’ without long-term prospects, so this chapter will not focus on them in equal detail. However, such parties are vital in explaining why (with the exception of communists) the genuine radical left is much weaker in Eastern than Western Europe, since they often occupy the place where it might flourish. Social populists espouse quasi-left and pseudo-radical slogans, and Eastern Europe’s political environment, with relatively unstructured party systems, where ‘left’ and ‘right’ are less clearly defined and where socioeconomic distress is greater and political trust lower than in the West, means that they are likely to remain an obstacle to the development of genuine RLPs there. Accordingly, I provide a brief overview of the main types.

What populism is and is not ‘Populism’ is one of the most controversial political terms, partly because it is widely used as an insult implying irresponsibility, demagoguery and opportunism. For example, the left’s redistributionism might be dismissed as ‘cheap’ or ‘dangerous’ populism, as in Latin America where a simplistic division into the ‘good’ (non-populist) and ‘bad’ (populist) left has been made (Castañeda 2006). Nevertheless, I follow an increasing number of analysts in using populism as a neutral term with greater heuristic validity than its synonyms. For example, while populists are inherently opposed to the political elite, the term ‘anti-political establishment parties’ (e.g. Abedi 2004) includes those that are not necessarily populist (such as communists, fascists and even Greens). Yet even if populism is used non-pejoratively, it is difficult to isolate. There is no ‘Populist International’; populism is a ‘chameleonic’ concept that, like other ‘thin-centred’ ideologies (especially nationalism), easily combines with ‘fuller’ ideologies such as conservatism or socialism (Taggart 2000; Fieschi 2004). Moreover, although populism may be defined as an ideology, it has a deliberate lack of intellectual consistency – it is a syndrome not a doctrine (Wiles 1969).

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Nevertheless, we can certainly identify the minimal necessary features of populism. Mudde (2004: 543; cf. Albertazzi and McDonnell 2007), defines it as: an ideology that considers society to be ultimately separated into two homogeneous and antagonistic groups, “the pure people” versus “the corrupt elite”, and which argues that politics should be an expression of the volonté générale (general will) of the people. Populism implies a distinct political style (involving ‘everyday’ language, an appeal to ‘gut feelings’ and simplistic slogans and solutions – what Mudde refers to as bar-room politics). It implies an identifiable form of organization – centralized but fluid structures enabling a dominant, charismatic leader to be ‘close to the people’ (Taggart 2000; Weyland 2001). Charismatic authority, anti-institutional mobilization and simplistic language are not unique to populists, but the ‘corrupt elite’ versus ‘moral people’ dichotomy is. So, populist parties are those that define themselves against all other ‘mainstream’ or ‘establishment’ political parties, and see themselves as the only principled defenders of the ‘ordinary person’, relying heavily on emotional discourse and protest sentiment.

A left-populist Zeitgeist? As a ‘thin-centred’ ideology, populism is inherently neither of left nor right; indeed, its moral and emotional emphasis and focus on ‘the people’ as a whole is inherently anti-programmatic. Nevertheless, whilst populism’s anti-intellectualism, cross-class appeal and ideological amorphousness have usually made it suspect to the left, leftists have also been able to find affinity with intentions which prima facie look like ‘a wish list for a socialist and radical-democratic agenda’ – anti-elitism, empowerment, inclusiveness, morality and welfarism (Arditi 2003: 18). Indeed, some have argued that socialism is intrinsically populist. After all, among the most famous left-populists were the mid-nineteenth-century Russian Narodniki. Their rejection of constitutional limits on the state and assertion of the revolutionary potential of the peasantry were a key influence on Leninism (Clarke 2002). Moreover, in the early twentieth century, the proletariat’s minority status in most democracies led socialist parties to broaden class struggle to the ‘people’ (Przeworski and Sprague 1986). On similar grounds Ernesto Laclau (1977:196) has called socialism ‘the highest form of “populism”’. Because a Marxist sees proletarian interests as universal, it is simple to elide distinctions between proletariat and people and to struggle for this people in the ‘national-liberation struggle’. Nikita Khrushchev’s 1961 formulation of the ‘allpeople’s state’ arguably indicated that Soviet proletarianism had become populism. However, this is overstated. True populists lionize the ‘common sense’ of the people, and aim to change its political status but not its values. For the Marxist, concern with education and class consciousness remained paramount. For the Leninist, the elite party of dedicated revolutionaries was inherently anti-populist. The CPSU actively formed popular interests, rather than simply reflecting them, hence often anti-populist Soviet campaigns for labour discipline and socialist morality.

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Nevertheless, the affinity between socialism and populism in contemporary Europe is growing, partly because European politics is itself becoming more populist. Indeed, there is a ‘populist Zeitgeist’ – major European political entrepreneurs regularly employ populist rhetoric, especially in terms of presenting themselves as ‘ordinary’ representatives of the ‘common people’, and depicting opponents as elitist or out-of-touch (Mudde 2004). Accordingly all contemporary parties may use populist appeals to some extent (Deegan-Krause and Haughton 2009). This Zeitgeist has long-term causes and so is likely to be long lasting; in particular the ‘modernization crisis’ engendered by globalization and the decline of the post-war social democratic consensus; the modern mass media, which has ‘demystified’ politicians and put their actions under ever greater popular scrutiny; the emergence of ‘catch-all’ parties which appeal beyond defined class constituencies; finally, EU integration, which as an elite-led project which impinges on national sovereignty, has become a ‘sitting duck’ for populist mobilization (Canovan 1999: 6; Mudde 2004, 2007). Whilst during the 1980s and 1990s right-wing populists were naturally more adept than communists and social democrats in exploiting ethnic and national grievances and adapting to neo-liberalism’s anti-state and individualist emphasis, the contemporary socio-economic environment arguably favours a European left-populist Zeitgeist. Not only is neo-liberalism increasingly contested, but the decline of doctrinaire communism’s hegemony over left-wing radicalism and the rightwards shift of social democracy to become a perceived element of the ‘establishment’ increases the propensity for populist mobilization both within and against the traditional left. Particularly after 2008, European economic travails indicate that socio-economic concerns (jobs, welfare, and benefits) are potentially as salient as the identity concerns (national sovereignty, immigration) more regularly expressed by the populist right. Unsurprisingly then, the ‘populist temptation’ has become increasingly attractive to the left. Although I focus in this chapter on those parties with the most marked populist elements, it is already clear that RLPs of divergent ideological dispositions have increasingly adopted populist appeals, focussing on antiestablishment themes in order to articulate the concerns of a ‘people’ broader than the traditional blue-collar proletariat. For example, some communist parties such as the Greek KKE, Russian KPRF and Portuguese PCP have articulated a form of Stalin’s ‘socialism in one country’ that appeals to ‘national liberation’ against capitalist elites and their foreign imperialist masters while de-emphasizing Marxism-Leninism and internationalism (without replacing them entirely). Newer exTrotskyist parties like the French NPA and the Socialist Party of Ireland (a sisterparty of the SSP with an MEP from Dublin and which, together with the People Before Profit Alliance, gained 2.2 per cent of the vote and 5 seats in the 2011 Irish elections) have a highly personalized style and are prone to iconoclasm and gesture politics, even if they still retain a strong working-class discourse.1 Even some resolutely non-populist parties such as the Finnish Left Alliance have a ‘populist left’ wing (see Chapter 5). What are the implications of the left-populist Zeitgeist? In itself, populism is neutral, not the ‘pathology’ sometimes claimed (e.g. Akkerman 2003). Indeed,

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Margaret Canovan persuasively argues that populism is a perceptive critique of the democratic limitations of liberal democracies, especially the elitist gap between the people’s representatives and the people itself. The gap between liberal democracy’s performance and promise provides a perpetual stimulus to populist mobilization ‘that follows democracy like a shadow’ (Canovan 1999: 10). This is why populism has become so integral to contemporary democratic discourse. To the degree that populism raises elite awareness of popular concerns and provides for the representation of the excluded it is not necessarily a negative phenomenon, however uncomfortable it is for political elites. For this reason, René Cuperus (2003: 108) has advocated the left becoming ‘more “populist”, in a leftist way’ by addressing the concerns of those left behind by economic and cultural modernization and by disengaging with technocratic ‘third way’ strategies that downplay political conflict – thus populism might be ‘civilized’ by removing it from monopolization by the radical right. Left-populism is certainly relatively ‘civilized’ because it emphasizes egalitarianism and inclusivity rather than the openly exclusivist anti-immigrant or anti-foreigner concerns of right-populism (i.e. its concern is the demos not the ethnos). However, populism can be democracy’s shadow in a darker way as the archetype of the ‘tyranny of the majority’ warned against by John Stuart Mill (Arditi 2003). Populism’s maximalist interpretation of plebiscitary democracy means that it is intolerant of constitutional limits that frustrate the unmediated will of the people, and as such is potentially illiberal, even extremist. Moreover, populism is potentially profoundly politically destabilizing, because its democratic aspirations raise expectations which both the liberal democratic political elite and the populist actors (often tamed in office because they lack organizational robustness, consistent programmatic orientation, or indeed any model of a ‘people’s democracy’) – are usually unable to fulfil. Political actors whose raison d’être is criticism of the ‘establishment’ but who are consistently unable to represent their ‘people’ once in office are an invitation to further political disenchantment. So the challenge for the contemporary European left is to become populist in style but not substance. This challenge is still easiest in Western Europe, where political systems are more stable, more structured, more parliamentary, and organized social democracy remains dominant on the left, thereby limiting the scope of true populist movements. The populism of the populist socialists outlined below has not replaced traditional socialist commitments, and there is no recent Western European example of successful social populist movement equivalent to the Latin American left-populists, with their dominant leadership and broad social mobilization. The Greek PASOK, which fitted such a definition in the 1970s and 1980s, jettisoned populism in favour of ‘third way’ social democracy after 1996 (Lyrintzis 2005). The only currently (partly) analogous party is the Irish/Northern Irish Sinn Féin, which joined the radical left’s EU parliamentary United European Left/Nordic Green Left group in 2004 for pragmatic reasons (having no other obvious home). SF’s platform is distinctive (given its history as the political wing of the terrorist IRA), with its nationalism, authoritarianism and populism reminiscent of the radical right, but seeing itself as leftist, egalitarian and pro-immigrants’ rights (O’Malley 2008).

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However, the ‘dark side’ of populism is far more of a challenge in contexts where the external constraints provided by strong institutions, legal systems and competitor political parties are weaker. Here, populism’s association with charismatic leadership and organizational de-institutionalization has a tendency towards messianic leadership promoting authoritarian leadership and passive masses. This trait is of particular danger in Latin America’s elitist ‘delegative democracies’. For example, in Chávez’s Venezuela, institutions have to be reshaped and the masses mobilized constantly in order to maintain the ‘revolutionary’ momentum of Chavismo, thus engendering a cycle of populist mobilization and demobilization and eliciting fears of authoritarianism even among some Chávez supporters. As we shall see, Eastern Europe’s less stable party systems and poorer socioeconomic situation provide fertile ground for a less benign populism.

The Left Party – from populism to pragmatism . . . and back? After German unification in 1990, the LP occupied the unique position of being the only communist ‘successor party’ (to the former East German Socialist Unity Party) outside an ex-communist state (the GDR). Although the party has become an important force in Western Germany, in important respects it is comparable to other successor parties, in particular the Czech KSČM, with which it shares a legacy of ‘bureaucratic authoritarian’ communism. As noted in Chapter 4, this legacy implied a highly repressive and inert ruling party that would neither try to reform nor co-opt the anti-communist uprising, but quickly collapsed in the face of mass pressure after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Like the KSČM, the LP inherited a large nostalgic mass base from its ruling predecessor. In 1990s Eastern Germany this membership was a bonus, being larger than the Eastern branches of the principal Western German parties (the Social Democratic Party, SPD and Christian Democratic Union, CDU) combined. Moreover, like other successor parties, the LP benefited from a strong socialist value culture – the so-called Ostalgie (nostalgia for the GDR). However, the legacy proved a mixed blessing. Although by the end of the 1990s the LP successfully drew voters from all Eastern social strata and age groups, its traditionalist membership, combined with a new orientation towards Basisdemokratie, complicated its leadership’s intentions to adopt more modernist, pragmatic positions (Padgett 1998). Today, also like the KSČM, its membership is ageing, averaging 63 years old (Striethorst 2011). Had Germany not reunited, it is possible that the LP’s trajectory in the East would have mirrored the Czech party more closely, that is a stable niche position with minimal ideological transformation and still less political influence. But of course, Germany did reunite, posing both opportunities and dilemmas for the LP. The rapid absorption of East by West, the East’s continued poor socio-economic performance and the dominance of former West German elites in the new Germany allowed the LP to become a ‘regional party built on socialist principles’ (Hough 2001: 22), guarding distinct East German traditions, values and symbols (including even the communist-era pedestrian light signals, the Ampelmännchen).

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The LP emerged a major Eastern German actor in the mid-1990s, polling 20 per cent of the vote (as opposed to less than 2 per cent in the West) and even surpassing the SPD in the regions (Länder) of Saxony, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt. But whilst the East’s political-cultural legacy weakened the SPD and Greens (in particular) there, by the same token, the LP was consistently unable to expand its organizational and electoral base in the West. Here, the SPD and Greens had deeper roots and with anti-communist traditions still salient the LP was regarded as an obsolete, ‘Eastern’ Stalinist relic, even among more radically inclined leftwing voters (Olsen 2007).2 Only in 2005, after the PDS allied with the Electoral Alternative for Labour and Social Justice (WASG) did the LP manage to overcome this persistent barrier. The WASG was a coalition of SPD defectors, trade unionists, global justice activists and members of minor extreme left groups. They coalesced in protest against the ‘Agenda 2010’ neo-liberal economic and welfare reforms proposed in March 2003 by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, leader of the SPD–Green government, in particular the so-called Hartz IV reforms which aimed (inter alia) to cut unemployment benefits and claimant rights.3 The LP’s ideological position is broadly distinct but vague in detail – a combination of commitments to grass-roots pluralism (in 2011 there were 25 official groups (15 unofficial) with much programmatic and organizational autonomy) and the dictates of German federalism. At national level, it has undergone several shifts of strategic direction, from anti-establishment anti-capitalism and Eastern German regional populism in the mid-1990s to increasing pragmatic moderation by the millennium, with a more populist but office-seeking anti-capitalist position discernible since 2005. Overall, the party espouses a recognizably democratic socialist platform: broad aspirations to social justice coexist with opposition to neo-liberalism, commitments to a maximum 35-hour working week without pay loss, redistributive taxation, full employment and a mandatory ten-Euro per-hour minimum wage. In addition, the LP is strongly pacifist, opposing German troop deployment abroad (e.g. in Afghanistan) and supporting NATO dissolution. Four broad intra-party tendencies are identifiable (Hough et al. 2007; Hough and Koß 2009), now supplemented by the WASG’s ‘protest activist’ and ‘far left’ wings. The ‘modern socialists’ dominant in the leadership seek to increase the democratic accountability and social justice of Germany’s political system by positioning the LP as a radical, pragmatic socialist alternative to the SPD; the ‘pragmatic reformers’ engage mainly with local level problem solving, and practical, rather than ideological issues; the vocal ‘restorative ideologues’ associated with Sahra Wagenknecht’s Communist Platform insist on communist verities and the heritage of state socialism, whilst the anti-establishment and anti-authoritarian ‘radical-alternative wing’ opposes the GDR heritage, collaborates with the social movements, supports a libertarian social position (e.g. on drugs liberalization) and generally opposes LP participation in government. Ex-WASG ‘protest activists’ include former SPD and trade union activists for whom social justice is more important than ideology; the ‘far left’ includes minor communist/Trotskyist groups conversely aiming to struggle for ‘socialism’.4

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All told, merger with the WASG has bolstered anti-establishment protest sentiments, and has increased the number of members for whom social justice and employment are more important than left-libertarian and green issues (Olsen 2007). Such members regard the SPD as anathema and LP collaboration with the SDP in Land governments (e.g. in Berlin) as neo-liberalism in action. Unsurprisingly, ideological and strategic wrangling has characterized party development: although Marxism-Leninism and democratic centralism disappeared in 1989– 1990, only in 2003 did the modern socialists prevail and the party programme distance itself from Marxism, revolution, and soften its criticism of market economics (Patton 2006). Any agreement on programmatic issues has been tortuous to attain (Hough 2010). Although consensus between the PDS and WASG (e.g. on rejecting German military intervention abroad even under UN auspices and on opposing neo-liberal reforms where possible) facilitated a smooth merger, a draft programme finally appeared only in early 2010, and has still not been finalized (LP 2010c). To reduce this complex amalgam to populism alone would be evidently simplistic, not least because the ideological and internationalist elements of the LP’s activity have remained consistently important. A focus on the international rather than the national is not typical of populists, but the LP has been one of the key drivers of initiatives like the New European Left Forum and PEL (see Chapter 8), and sees itself as pro-European, whilst not supporting an EU politics ‘by the elite for the elite’ (Bisky 2008). Moreover, although the party drew heavily on the protest sentiments of Easterners who had lost out during unification (epitomized by its 1994 slogan of ‘Election Day is Protest Day’), it was not simply a protest party: by 1998 its increased support among younger and white-collar voters gave it pretensions to be an East German regional Volkspartei (People’s Party) with an electoral profile similar to the Greens (Betz 1999). Moreover, ‘red–red’ regional coalitions with the SPD in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (1998–2006), Berlin (2001– ) and Brandenburg (2009– ) have meant that the party has moderated its comprehensive anti-establishment stance. Nevertheless, populism remains an important element of the LP’s appeal. The party’s traditional self-perception was an ‘everyday party’ (Alltagspartei), representing the ‘ordinary’ East German citizen and even the East German ‘people’ against the alleged remote, colonizing elites in Bonn, as a ‘kind of “Lega East”’ (Decker and Hartleb 2007: 448), although this was downplayed after 2005 as the party became an all-German force. Indeed, a key populist trait is a mythologized popular ‘homeland’ (Taggart 2000). The PDS itself represented a ‘piece of “Heimat” that many eastern Germans do not wish to lose’ (Hough 2001: 132). Furthermore, the party’s anti-capitalism is presented very much as the ‘good’ people’s battle against ‘bad’ big business with a strong accent on ‘wealth redistribution . . . based on the interests of the people and carried out by the people in self-determination’ (LP 2005). Merger with the WASG reinforced the LP’s concern to remodel German democracy with (ill-defined) participatory elements, including economic and gender democratization and referenda, and its 2010 draft programme contained classic populist demands such as ‘the implementation of economic, social

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and political reforms, which focus on the needs and interests of the people and not on the claims of the upper crust to private enrichment’ (LP 2010c). Moreover, the party’s leadership style has been strongly populist and reliant on a few key telegenic leaders such as Gregor Gysi – indeed before 2005 the PDS was occasionally known as the ‘Gysi Party’ (Gapper 2003). Gysi and (since 2005) Oskar Lafontaine have been particularly effective and charismatic media stars, presenting themselves as modernizing but simultaneously astute and unorthodox champions of the ‘victimized’ underdog who can talk in ‘common-sense’ and simple terms. Lafontaine in particular was archetypally populist with his attacks on the ‘Hartz IV’ parties, and in the course of the 2005 election campaign he controversially used the word fremdarbeiter (foreign worker), a word with Nazi-era overtones, indicating that he might be appealing to extreme right voters.5 Overall, the LP’s populism appears largely a stylistic and tactical device, a core but not the core component of ideology, reflecting leadership style and the party’s marginalized position in the political system, whilst also helping to consolidate disparate party tendencies. The LP’s national electoral performance can be broadly categorized as re-emergence from 1990–8, stagnation until 2004 and exponential growth until 2010, whereafter stagnation again threatened. From 1990–1998, its increasingly strong Eastern base allowed it to scrape into the Bundestag (national parliament). Since it failed to surpass the Bundestag’s 5 per cent threshold, it relied on electoral rules granting parties with three representatives from single-member districts Bundestag seats in accordance with their vote share. Although it did clear the threshold for the first time in 1998 (with 5.1 per cent), this success ushered in a period of drift, culminating in 2002 when the party polled only 4.0 per cent nationally and secured just two single-member Bundestag seats, too few to form a party group. Its 2002 failure was a combination of several factors: the redrawing of constituency boundaries; a sharp decline in its East German heartland (from 21.6 per cent in 1998 to 16.9 per cent in 2002) prompted by continued internal ideological and strategic disagreements under the lacklustre leadership of Gabi Zimmer and the resignation of Gysi as Berlin economics minister in summer 2002 after a sleaze scandal; finally, an opportunistic shift to the left by SPD chancellor Schröder, who exploited anti-American rhetoric and proved himself an adroit crisis manager during flooding in Eastern Germany in August 2002, further bled the LP’s electorate (Smith 2004). However, the 2002 election proved a wake-up call, strengthening the modern socialists and pragmatists in their attempts to build a flexible and reliable national party. Yet the union between the PDS and WASG and the LP’s astounding 2005 Bundestag result (8.7 per cent of the vote and 54 (of 622) seats) might not even have happened without the SPD’s mistakes, namely the expulsion of WASG activists and Schröder’s decision to hold pre-term Bundestag elections, which jolted Lafontaine to leave the SPD and Gysi to return to politics (Olsen 2007). By allying with Lafontaine, a former SPD leader and finance minister (1998–9) in Schröder’s first government, the LP snared the most high-profile social democratic defector to the European radical left in recent history.

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Again, in September 2009, the LP capitalized on SPD weakness. From 2005–9, the SPD participated in ‘grand coalition’ government alongside Angela Merkel’s CDU. However, the negative legacy of Agenda 2010, SPD leader Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s plodding leadership and that party’s strategic divisions led it to a post-war low of 23 per cent in 2009. In stark contrast, the LP managed 11.9 per cent and 76 seats. In 2005, approximately one third of the LP’s new voters came from SPD defectors, but in 2009, in an election heavily defined by the economic crisis, the share was 75 per cent. In both elections, Greens and even former CDU members also turned to the LP in numbers, as it gained support especially among blue-collar workers and the unemployed (Hildebrandt 2009a; LP 2010a). Germany’s territorial system provides an added layer of complexity to the LP’s performance, since federal and Land party systems have been much less congruent since German unification, prompting problems of coordination and control for all parties (Jeffery 2004). The party’s very strength in the East forced it to confront the opportunity of sharing executive power at Landesverbank level relatively early and such coalitions forced flexibility and pragmatism. Most notably in Berlin, the LP has acted as an essentially pragmatic actor, focussing on promoting social projects (for example free day-care for children and funding for comprehensive schools) during a period of cutbacks in the capital’s public services. By 2006, the Berlin LP campaigned as a normal, reliable coalition partner of the SPD (McKay 2007). However, in other regions, such as Saxony and Brandenburg, the Land LP (in part due to internal disagreements) has preferred populist, anti-neoliberal protest (even against other LP Land governments) to pragmatism (Hough et al. 2007). However, the movement towards regional office-seeking has increased (Hough 2010). In 2007–8, the LP broke into the Western Land parliaments in Bremen, Lower Saxony, Hesse and Hamburg, in 2011, it was represented in 13 of Germany’s 16 Länder. Though still weaker electorally and organizationally in the West, it now has a convincing claim to be a national party. Office-seeking motives are ever more apparent: as Bodo Ramelow, its Thuringia regional leader declared: ‘we want to govern’ (Becker 2009). However, although the taboo against including the ‘Stalinist’ LP in Western regional coalitions has softened, it remains as yet unbroken. Indeed, internal SPD disagreements over strategy towards the LP helped force out Kurt Beck as SPD leader in November 2008. Although as part of a move to the left in mid-2009, the SPD leadership permitted Land SPD leaderships to decide on cooperation with the LP for themselves, the SPD has still avoided ‘red–red’ coalitions with the LP, as in Thuringia and Saarland in 2009. In North-Rhine Westphalia in 2010, the SPD and Greens preferred a minority coalition relying on LP support to including it in formal coalition. In Saxony-Anhalt in 2011, the SPD returned to government with the CDU rather than courting the LP. At national level, a ‘red–red–green’ coalition remains unviable. The SPD viewed Lafontaine as a traitor and, despite some policy convergence – e.g. the SPD’s renewed commitment to ‘democratic socialism’, the minimum wage and social market economy, and the LP’s respect towards the social democratic tradition in its draft programme (LP 2010c) – there remains a foreign policy gulf between

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the LP’s pacifist Euroscepticism and the SDP’s Atlanticist Eurofederalism.6 Anticommunism remains a weapon for both SPD and Greens, while the national-level LP retains a largely anti-system confrontational stance towards these parties and sets the bar to government participation so high (e.g. by demanding a fundamental renunciation of neo-liberalism) that, particularly in the age of austerity, a common left governing project is impossible (Hildebrandt 2011). Indeed, after Lafontaine retired as party chair for health reasons in late 2009, the party risked looking increasingly unfit to govern. It stagnated in opinion polls and failed to even enter Land parliaments in Baden-Württemberg and RhinelandPalatinate in 2011. Lafontaine had been a significant factor in both detoxifying the LP brand in the West and unifying its disparate fractions. But internal divisions swiftly resurfaced and, according to LP chair Lothar Bisky, the party suffered from ‘a little east-west conflict, a little bossiness and a little ideological swine flu’ (LP 2010b). The replacement of Lafontaine and Bisky with a new joint leadership headed by relative unknowns Klaus Ernst and Gesine Lötzsch has so far only exacerbated these issues. Ernst (‘Porsche Klaus’) was criticised for an allegedly luxurious lifestyle, while Lötzsch caused negative headlines with a commentary to a left-wing newspaper invoking the party to find ‘paths to communism’ (Berg and Pancur 2011). Yet the LP’s problems run deeper than weak leadership. In 2005–9, it had the luxury of outsider status opposing a ‘neo-liberal’ SDP–CDU ‘grand coalition’ and voters flocked to it more because of discontent with the mainstream alternatives than its problem-solving competence (Hough and Koß 2009). There were still ample opportunities for the party to play a protest role with Merkel’s post2009 coalition with the (neo)-liberal party FDP plumbing depths of unpopularity and the SDP still tarnished by Agenda 2010. Yet the crux of the LP’s divisions remains its inability to define a clear identity bridging its Eastern traditions as a ‘pragmatic, broad-based governing party’ and the Western heritage as a ‘radical political sect’ (Berg and Pancur 2011). Moreover, particularly since the merger with WASG, it has been too focussed on ‘old politics’ social justice issues and has given scant attention to questions of participation and ecology (Hildebrandt 2011). Consequently, this allowed the Greens (exploiting anti-nuclear sentiment and with clear ‘alternative’ positions) to outflank the SPD to attain 28 per cent in opinion polls and gain their first-ever regional governor in Baden-Württemberg in 2011. Which of the Germany’s three lefts will eventually best benefit from opposition cannot yet be decided, but it is increasingly clear that the LP’s failure to reconcile pragmatism and populism risks lastingly excluding it from real national influence.

The Dutch Socialist Party – towards post-populism? Gaining national parliamentary presence only in 1994, and reaching its electoral highpoint in 2006, the SP appears to have come from nowhere. In fact, the party has an unusual prehistory, being the only now relevant European RLP to emerge predominately from a Maoist groupuscule, the Communist Party of the

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Netherlands (Marxist-Leninist), itself a descendant of the Communist Party of the Netherlands, KPN. By renaming itself the Socialist Party in 1972, the party aimed both to distance itself from China and the student/intellectual emphasis of post-68 activism (SP 2007a). Although the SP ‘de-Maoized’ after 1975, its Maoist ‘mass line’ perpetuated its adaptable and a-theoretical working-class populism (Voerman 2008). The party ‘went to the people’ to promote the concept of Arbeidersmacht (‘workers’ power’), creating dense local networks of tenants’, medical and community organizations, and affiliated trade unions. Although the SP attempted to enter national parliament’s lower house (Tweede Kamer) in 1977, for the first 22 years of its existence it polled less than 1 per cent nationally. However, its strong local presence gave it a national backbone long before it achieved a national breakthrough. Notably, it gained a number of municipal councillors (e.g. future leader Jan Marijnissen’s home town of Oss became an SP stronghold) and representation in provincial legislatures (e.g. Noord-Brabant). Younger, more pragmatic elites headed by new leader, Marijnissen, used democratic centralism to centralize the SP after 1988 (Keith 2010b). Although the party emphasizes participatory democracy and direct unmediated contact with the electorate as ‘a social movement with its roots in the people’, its leadership retains tight control (SP 2007c; Keith 2010). Significant in the SP’s slow rise was its programmatic pragmatism – ‘a very practical SOCIALISM took the place of theoretical socialism’ (SP 2007a) – culminating in the abandonment of Marxism-Leninism in 1991 and a ‘desocialization’ in the 1990s (Voerman 2008). In 1989–1991, other radicals (the KPN, the Pacifist Socialist Party, the ecologist Political Party of Radicals, and the Evangelical People’s Party) reconstituted themselves as GroenLinks (GreenLeft) on an eco-socialist platform. This helped the SP distinguish itself as a more radical labour-orientated party, and it benefited from defectors unhappy with GreenLeft’s relatively moderate left-libertarianism. For example, the former GreenLeft national Vice-Chair Erik Meijer joined the SP in 1996 and became its first MEP in 1999. The SP’s populist profile was continued in the 1990s as it pitched itself as an anti-establishment outsider: its 1994 slogan was ‘Vote Against!’ However, its success in appealing to disaffected Labour Party (PvdA) voters has led it since 2001 to position itself for possible national coalition with Labour and GreenLeft. Its 2002 electoral slogan of ‘Vote For!’ was notable in this regard, whilst in 2004 SP proposed a ‘social alliance’ (which Labour rejected) (SP 2007d). Success in municipal government also bred de-radicalization. As with the German LP, the SP proved increasingly pragmatic at local level. It joined governing coalitions in several large cities, such as Eindhoven (2002–) Groningen (2006–) and Nijmegen (2002–). Its preferred coalition partners were Labour or GreenLeft (e.g. in Nijmegen) but the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and even market liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) were also acceptable (e.g. in Groningen from 2002–6). The SP’s populism has traditionally consisted of several main elements. First is resistance to the ‘political careerists’ and remote, corrupt ‘social technocrats’

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of the ‘political caste’ who foist plans on an unwilling population like ‘neoliberal Ayatollahs’ (Marijnissen 2006). Instead, the SP proposed maximum incomes, the halving of politicians’ salaries, ending of political donations and increased use of referenda to ‘give the people more control’ (SP 2003b). Furthermore, the SP’s MPs hand their wages to the party and live on an average worker’s wage. Second is an evocation of a past ‘homeland’ where workers had security and respect under the Keynesian welfare consensus, whose foundations have ‘started to rot’ under neo-liberalism (SP 2003a). Third is a strong emphasis on Dutch identity politics. The SP has generally been one of the ‘harder’ Eurosceptic left parties, attacking the EU as an ‘unwanted, undemocratic European superstate’ under the ‘domination of big corporations and big countries’, which promotes ‘false internationalism . . . corruption and greed’ (SP 1999a). Under slogans like ‘Netherlands needs less Brussels’, the SP has proposed a decentralized, ‘slimmed down’ Europe, involving cuts to the EU budget (and Dutch contributions), an end to EU deregulation and privatization, to transfer of powers to Brussels, and a return to national scrutiny of EU laws (e.g. SP 2006). Most controversially, the SP envisaged restrictions on the free labour market, including preventing an influx of cheap East European labour, instead focussing on a redistribution of funds to poorer European countries to ‘make immigration unnecessary’. Similarly, the SP has had a relatively semi-detached role in pan-European left networks (see Chapter 8). Although a member of the NELF and EU parliamentary group the GUE/NGL, and supporting a stronger European Parliament, it opposes greater co-ordination of EU elections or the funding of EU-wide political parties, and regards the PEL as unnecessary (SP 2007e). As a consequence, the SP has faced allegations that it is a xenophobic ‘social nationalist’ party pandering above all to parochial concerns, arguing that the ‘Netherlands is no island and socialists are internationalists [but a] fairer, more just and more peaceful world [must be] everywhere shaped locally’ (SP 2007f). The SP has de-radicalized to the extent that Voerman (2008) regards it as social democratized and barely populist. Its leadership was also increasingly keen to perpetuate this impression (WikiLeaks 2011). Certainly, much of its populism was associated with Marijnissen, who demitted as party leader and head of the SP’s parliamentary faction in June 2008 for health reasons. Marijnissen was an archetypal populist leader, with an earthy appeal that transcended his party, adept at modern media techniques, who emphasized his empathy with the plight of the ordinary citizen and who shared some of his critique of the ‘monstrous’ Dutch establishment with the populist maverick Pim Fortuyn, who came to rapid national prominence in 2002 (McGiffen 2006b; Marijnissen 2006). Nevertheless, although less pivotal than before, populism and reinforcing popular control remains important to the party’s ‘preparedness to serve the people’ and ‘character rooted in the people’ (SP 2010c). The party’s 2010 election programme offered detailed policy proposals demonstrating a governing aptitude (such as defence of the state pension and reform of NATO), but still attacked the political and economic elite, whose lust for profit had ‘led to genuine hunger for many’ (SP 2010a) and to call for popular control through referenda.

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In general, the SP uses unorthodox and humorous campaign techniques (including showing opponents crushed with bright flying tomatoes, the SP symbol). It outlines familiar left proposals, including an increased welfare spending, redistributionist income and tax policies, employment protection regulations and expansion of the minimum wage (SP 2003b). Despite still desiring to supplant ‘casino capitalism’, by the late 1990s the party generally attacked neo-liberalism and made little direct mention of socialism, beyond aspirations to ‘human dignity, equality of worth, and solidarity’ (SP 1999b).7 As part of its aspirations to become more koalitionsfähig, in 2006 the SP moderated long-standing proposals like immediate abolition of NATO and the monarchy and a 72 per cent tax band for the rich (Zonnevylle 2006). Even compared with the German LP and SSP’s democratic socialism, the SP’s anti-capitalism is eclectic, a-theoretical and increasingly moderate. However, the emphasis on Christian ethical humanism, extra-parliamentary mobilization and unmediated popular control means that claims of socialdemocratization are exaggerated (Weissbach 2009). Since the 1990s, the Netherlands has proved a fertile environment for antiestablishment sentiment. From 1994–2002 Labour’s participation in the so-called ‘purple coalition’ with the social liberal D66 and market liberal VVD contributed to the perception that it was moving inexorably rightwards.8 After the millennium, economic growth slowed, and concerns over the introduction of the Euro, immigration and multiculturalism prefaced the rise of Fortuyn, who provided a ‘focal point for an unexpectedly widespread sense of disconnection between the nation’s political elite and the concerns of ordinary voters, as well as bringing into more critical focus the relatively unquestioned choices which underpin the socalled “polder model”’ (Harmssen 2002: 2) – this model being a consensus-based corporatism involving close consultation between trade unions, the government and the private sector. A strong sense that EU integration (in particular budgetary contributions and increased immigration) is no longer in the Dutch ‘national interest’ has increased Euroscepticism since the 1990s (Harmsen 2004). The SP’s gradual march through the institutions was greatly aided by the Dutch electoral system, a PR system with one national level district and no constituency level seats, which helps a large number of new parties enter the electoral system. In 1994, the SP gained two lower house seats (of 150) with a mere 1.3 per cent of the national vote. It advanced incrementally in every subsequent election until January 2003 (see Table 5.1) when it stabilized at 9 seats and increased its vote marginally to 6.3 per cent. In the context, such stabilization was disappointing. On 15 May 2002 the Labour vote collapsed (from 29 per cent in 1998 to 15.1 per cent) amidst a comprehensive defeat for the ‘purple coalition’. But the anti-immigrant populism of the newly founded List Pim Fortuyn (LPF), which gained 17 per cent, albeit partly as a sympathy vote after Fortuyn’s assassination on 6 May, was clearly a greater draw than the SP’s populist socialism. However, the LPF collapsed to 5.7 per cent in the pre-term elections of January 2003. Intra-party discord had contributed to the collapse of the Liberal–Christian Democrat–LPF Balkenende I cabinet (named after the new Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende), which held office

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from 22 July until 16 October 2002. Yet the SP’s small 2003 gain showed it failing to benefit. Although the SP had been polling well, Labour’s new leader Wouter Bos moved moderately leftwards and appealed to disaffected supporters to help Labour win in January 2003 (Harmsen 2004). It did not, but with 27.3 its recovery was remarkable. However, despite apparent stagnation, by 2003 the SP had superseded GreenLeft as the main left alternative to Labour. It maintained momentum, gained its first MEP in 1999 and second in 2004, first Senator (of 75) in the Senate (Eerste Kamer) in 1999 and fourth in 2004. Set against this piecemeal rise, the party’s staggering November 2006 national success (with 16.6 per cent of the vote and 25 seats, making it the Netherlands’ third party) demands explanation, particularly since the economy, improving by 2006, was barely an issue during the campaign (van Holsteyn 2007). One change was the SP’s enhanced profile. The Liberal–Christian Democrat Balkenende II cabinet (May 2003–June 2006) unleashed an austerity package dubbed by opponents the ‘rightwing winter’, including cuts to free dental care and disability benefits, and limits on early retirement (van der Zwan 2006). The SP took a key role in the ‘turn the tide’ extra-parliamentary movement alongside Labour, GreenLeft, the FNV trade union and social movements, which precipitated 300,000 strong demonstrations against the government in 2004. The SP carved out a unique position, both intensifying its ‘respectable’ image to appeal to disaffected Labour voters and emphasizing its Eurosceptic credentials. Being the only parliamentary party to support the 62 per cent ‘No’ vote against the proposed EU constitution in the June 2005 referendum vastly boosted the SP’s reputation, whilst the May 2006 municipal elections, in which Labour also did well, indicated a ‘turn to the left’. The SP doubled its municipal legislature seats from 157 to 333 (of 8861) by doubling its candidates. Still, the SP polled just 5.7 per cent in these May elections. Its eleven-point leap that November was aided by Marijnissen’s strong debating performances and declining confidence in Labour leader Bos, seen as a ‘flip-flopper’ over his pension reform proposals and in particular his evasiveness over the desirability of a left–left coalition, whilst the SP argued that a socialist vote alone would bring such a coalition to fruition (Dutch News Digest 2006). This tactic was a success: 24 per cent of Labour’s 2003 voters voted SP, which also drew heavily from GreenLeft and non-voters, with some 15 per cent of its vote coming from the LPF (McGiffen 2006a; van Holsteyn 2007). The 2006 post-election arithmetic meant that at least three parties would be needed for a governing majority and so confirmed the SP’s new-found relevance; however, a left–left coalition evaporated because the largest party was the centre-right Christian Democratic Appeal, with which the SP found little common ground. Moreover, the SP claimed that Labour, in part because of suspicion of the SP’s communist roots, expelled it from negotiations, a point partially corroborated by WikiLeaks revelations (de Jong 2011; WikiLeaks 2011). Eventually, in February 2007 the Balkenende IV cabinet included Labour alongside the CDA and Christian Union. Although Labour’s cooperation with the right was tailor-made for the SP to ratchet up its anti-establishment opposition, the party proved unable to capitalize

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on this in the June 2011 early elections after the collapse of this ‘unholy alliance’. SP membership had risen every year since 1992, doubling between 2001 and 2007 (to 50,740) with particular gains among women, the young and students – giving an increasingly post-materialist profile, although it retained strongholds in industrial centres like Eindhoven (SP 2010b). However, party membership dropped by 502 in 2008; above all the failure to achieve coalition in 2006 showed the SP failing to synthesize its older populist and newer ‘respectable’ positions, disillusioning older activists and demobilizing newer ones (Keith 2010). More damagingly, the SP improved its June 2009 EU election vote only marginally (to 7.1 per cent, retaining its two MEPs), despite the economic crisis. Its dismal performance in the March 2010 local elections (polling 4.1 per cent and losing 100,000 votes) provoked the resignation of SP parliamentary leader Agnes Kant. Kant had an abrasive image and had been unable to project herself as an effective electoral asset to replace Marijnissen (NRC Handelsblad 2010). In June 2010, the SP polled just 9.9 per cent of the vote and lost 10 seats. The major winner was Geert Wilders’ right-populist Freedom Party (PVV), which came third with 15.5 per cent and 24 seats, eventually supporting a centre-right minority government formed by the VVD and CDA. On this occasion the SP was not even included in negotiations. Its support for a centre-left coalition alongside CDA, Labour and GreenLeft was rejected by the latter two, but the SP at least succeeded in getting this initiative taken seriously. The SP lost votes to Labour and GreenLeft, but perhaps most significantly to the PVV, which had supplemented its Islamophobia with the poaching of several popular SP policies, such as improvements in elderly care, more police officers on the beat, and opposition to the raising of the pension age (van Heijningen 2011). Nevertheless, the SP saw this as a ‘defeat with a silver lining’ (ibid). The new SP leader Emile Roemer established himself in a short time as a jovial and down-toearth figure with high visibility and a firm grasp of the issues. The party’s eventual result was twice as good as catastrophic forecasts just one month earlier. The new government’s intention to undertake austerity measures and the divisive rhetoric of its ally the PVV certainly allows the SP some scope for recovery. One initiative in this direction was a common alternative to the cuts the SP agreed with Labour, GreenLeft and the liberal D66 in September 2010, which put the accent on cuts in defence spending, the maintenance of current tax levels on profits, and reductions in corporate subsidies. Meanwhile, the SP intends to work ever closer and more pragmatically with Labour in order to anchor it to left-leaning policies (de Jong 2011). Opinion polls in 2011 showed the SP recovering slowly.9 However, the great task ahead remains to show that its 2006 result was no mere anomaly and that it can fully develop from protest to pragmatism.

The Scottish Socialist Party: populist breakthrough, then breakdown . . . The SSP has its roots in quasi-Trotskyist micro-groups, principally Scottish Militant Labour (SML), which first coalesced in 1996 as the Scottish Socialist

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Alliance (SSA) and became a formal party in 1998, afterwards gaining one seat (its then leader Tommy Sheridan) in the newly constituted Scottish Parliament in May 1999. A minor step, but one which marked the first parliamentary seat for a RLP in Britain since 1950, and which proved the platform for the SSP’s breakthrough in May 2003, when it gained 6.9 per cent of the vote and six seats. The SSP had a direct English and Welsh analogue in the Socialist Alliance (SA) formed in 1999 by the Socialist Party (descended like SML from the Labour Party’s Militant Tendency), Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and others on the basis of existing local-level coalitions in reaction to UK Labour’s ‘rightwards’ drift.10 In 2004–5 the SA was absorbed into ‘Respect—The Unity Coalition’ led by former Labour MP George Galloway. However, success for the English–Welsh radical left proved elusive: several council seat victories for the SA (e.g. in Coventry), council seats (e.g. in East London and Birmingham) and Galloway’s Westminster parliamentary seat for Respect in 2005 promised much, but Respect split in 2007 and Galloway lost his seat in May 2010. The British radical left’s unenviable record of extreme sectarianism and electoral irrelevance constantly reappeared: disputes between the Socialist Party and SWP (over the latter’s alleged control-freakery) had already led the Socialists to leave the SA in 2001.11 Respect’s platform was controversial: although its pluralistic, populist anti-establishment emphasis mirrored the SSP’s, its anti-Iraq war and heavily pro-Muslim focus, when combined with dependence on the SWP, meant it was widely regarded as a narrow and sectarian coalition. Ultimately, disputes between the SWP leadership and Galloway precipitated the split (Galloway et. al 2008). The relative success of the Scottish socialists therefore demands explanation. Such factors include a long-tradition of Scottish working-class radicalism to which the SSP has made direct reference. Particularly important in this tradition are ‘Red Clydeside’ (working-class revolt in Glasgow from 1910 till the 1930s) and John Maclean, the Bolshevik consul who attempted to set up an independent Scottish socialist republic in the early 1920s. More recently, Scotland was at the forefront of opposition to Thatcherism, in particular the widely unpopular ‘poll tax’ was first piloted in Scotland in 1989 (one year before its introduction in the wider UK). The ensuing poll tax rebellion (in which Labour had limited involvement) helped activists from Trotskyist and Stalinist traditions to bridge their differences and work in relative harmony (Cornock 2003). A reservoir of ‘good-will’ therefore sustained left unity in the 1990s (Fox 2007). Set against a widening rich–poor income differential, the increasing moderation of Labour under Neil Kinnock opened a ‘political window’ for the radical left (Cornock 2003). Scottish Militant Labour’s decision to leave the Labour Party in 1992 marked the end of its long ‘entryist’ tradition, but looked propitious given the high reputation of its activists in Glasgow. In particular, Tommy Sheridan became a ‘working-class hero’ after his six-month incarceration for opposing warrant sales in Glasgow in 1992, winning a council seat from jail.12 SML won six city councillors and two regional councillors against Labour candidates in the 1990s (Fox 2007). Nevertheless, the initial success of the SSP is traceable to shorter-term causes. Indeed, throughout the 1990s Scottish RLPs were barely more successful than

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the English/Welsh. The SSA in 1996 was explicitly modelled on the ‘broad left’ models of parties such as the Spanish United Left: a pluralist, non-sectarian grassroots coalition that aimed to replace Labour as the ‘natural home of the working class’ (Cornock 2003:132). The SSA was also a reaction against Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party (SLP), which formed in 1996 to claim leadership over the UK radical left, but evolved into a monolithic organization opposing Scottish autonomy and intra-party platforms. However, despite strong support in Glasgow, the SSA made little wider headway, with potential allies such as the Communist Party of Britain and Socialist Workers not joining because of the SSA’s approval of Scottish autonomy. Above all, the SSP’s initial breakthrough in 1999 was a combination of a beneficial electoral system and Tommy Sheridan’s leadership. The Westminster majoritarian electoral system (encouraging two-party dominance of Labour and Conservatives) has been crucial in the failure of the radical left ever to emerge as an electoral force independent of Labour. However, that the British radical left’s own strategies (in particular, introversion, sectarianism and general unwillingness to observe European experience) contribute to their weakness is shown by their widespread failure to gain seats in PR elections (e.g. the Greater London Assembly and European elections) as other small parties such as the Greens have done. Nevertheless, in 1999 the Scottish parliamentary election system worked to the SSP’s advantage. The Scottish Parliament (Holyrood) is elected by the Additional Member system (AMS), with 73 seats allocated in constituencies by the traditional UK first-past-the-post system, and 56 allocated proportionally within regional multi-member constituencies, a system which is broadly proportional but excludes parties attaining less than 4–6 per cent of the regional vote (Massetti 2009). Whereas in 1999 Scargill’s SLP actually got more votes (55,000) than the SSP (45,000) in Scotland (without even campaigning), Sheridan’s Glasgow support base got him a parliamentary seat via the Glasgow regional list. This was a ‘credibility breakthrough’ for the SSP (Cornock 2003: 140), allowing it to become the epicentre of the Scottish radical left. It surpassed the SLP vote in the June 1999 European parliamentary elections, and in May 2001 the Socialist Worker’s Party joined. Rather similar to the Dutch SP and Portuguese Bloco, the SSP has seen itself as a ‘street-level’ ‘campaigning’ party, focussing on fighting for immediate issues (for instance, free school meals) rather than theoretical purity. Indeed, reflecting its coalitional and grass-roots origins, the party is internally a very diverse amalgamation of platforms and networks. Principal platforms have included the International Socialist Movement (the former Scottish Militant Labour), Socialist Workers and International Socialists (representing the Committee for Workers International, CWI) combined with networks such as women, young socialists, gays and lesbians, animal rights and racial minorities. The party sees itself neither as an exclusively Marxist nor revolutionary party (though like other ‘broad left’ parties it contains such elements). Indeed, former leader Sheridan (2007a) referred to ‘Magpie Marxism’ as his general orientation. Current co-leader Colin Fox argues that the party appeals to authentically Scottish

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radical traditions espoused by Robert Burns, Keir Hardie and the author Lewis Grassic Gibbon (Fox 2007). SSP Member of the Scottish Parliament Carolyn Leckie talked of reaching ‘people who wouldn’t know who Trotsky was from Lulu [a 1960s Scottish pop star]’ (Preston and Peart 2003). Uniting the diverse party has been a populism more strident and ultimately more central to the SSP than to the LP or SP: the SSP sees itself as ‘a working class party that stands up for ordinary people against big business and the rich’, a maverick outsider that champions those neglected by the establishment (SSP 2007, 2011). Its 2003 campaign slogan of ‘dare to be different’ epitomized this. Despite its absence of revolutionism, the party retains a strongly anti-systemic emphasis, proposing to ‘smash the state’ and disparaging the Scottish parliament as a ‘spineless cesspit’ occupied by ‘boring clone’ parties (SSP 2003b). Nevertheless, the SSP aimed to act as a left-wing ‘conscience’ pressuring other parties’ left wings to support its measures, successfully spearheading the 2001 reform of debt recovery legislation and increasing parliamentary support for free school meals and the reform of local government taxation. Although, in this way, the SSP espoused ‘reforms’ improving the daily lives of ordinary people, the party still saw itself as a ‘visionary’ force, challenging the idea that capitalism is invincible (Cornock 2003: 212). With a marginal position in the Scottish parliament, and only a handful of council seats, the SSP never faced incentives to moderate its stance of principled rage. There are several other key elements to the SSP’s populism. First, the SSP attacks mainstream parties (especially Labour) as corrupt and identikit ‘big business parties’. Like the SP, the SSP proposed maximum incomes and its MSPs (Members of the Scottish Parliament) handed their wages to the party and lived on an ‘average skilled worker’s wage’. The party envisages community and workplace participatory democracy, including greater use of referenda, the extension of the franchise to the homeless and prisoners and the abolition of the monarchy, with an emphasis on local social and environmental initiative (SSP 2007, 2011). Second, the party’s ‘homeland’ is as an idealized inclusive and socialist Labour Party whose former ideals the SSP now claims to protect. An often-used campaign picture morphed Margaret Thatcher into Tony Blair, while Sheridan regarded Labour’s Gordon Brown and Tony Blair as ‘cheeks of the same arse’ (Sheridan 2007b). Third and most controversial is the SSP’s separatism: the party promises an ‘Independent socialist Scottish republic’, with radical spending pledges which Westminster would be forced to fund (SSP 2003a). Although the SSP was much criticized for its ‘nationalism’, it argued, in an echo of Lenin’s theory of imperialism, that an independent Scotland would smash the British imperial state and advance the cause of democratic socialism internationally (Sheridan and McCombes 2000). The SSP says little about the EU (since Holyrood has no foreign policy prerogatives). However, seeing itself as pro-European but not pro-EU, it supports a ‘social’ EU and has proposed referenda to determine both the EU’s constitutional powers and Scotland’s EU membership (SSP 2004, 2007, 2011). Nevertheless, the party intended to join the GUE/NGL European parliamentary group had it won seats in the 2004 EU elections.

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Fourth, the SSP’s first leader Tommy Sheridan was populism personified: ‘The man of the people. The man of principle’ (SSP 1999). A forceful and dynamic orator, with an irreverent, earthy style, Sheridan’s popularity far exceeded that of his party and he was often voted one of Scotland’s ‘Greatest Living Scots’. He was jailed on several occasions (e.g. when blockading the Faslane nuclear base alongside CND), ostensibly showing solidarity with ordinary people. The SSP’s populism and republicanism were combined graphically after the 2003 elections when its new MSPs protested the pledge of allegiance to the Crown. Before taking the oath, Rosie Kane wrote ‘My oath is to the people’ on her hand in lipstick, while Colin Fox sang Robbie Burns’ egalitarian ‘A Man’s A Man for A’ That’. The party’s electoral highpoint was May 2003, when it benefited much from external factors: disillusion with the Scottish Labour–Liberal Democrat coalition and a weak campaign by the chief opposition, the left-nationalist Scottish National Party (SNP), allowed anti-establishment votes to drift to smaller parties (including the Greens, whose vote share approximated the SSP’s). Sentiment against the recently-initiated Iraq War (the ‘Baghdad bounce’) may also have benefited the SSP, who marked out a distinct position by demanding immediate troop withdrawal and courting Scotland’s Muslim minority. Neither of these external factors was present in 2007 when the election turned into a Labour-SNP conflict, squeezing smaller parties (including the Greens, who lost all but two seats) and the Iraq war was a background issue.13 In any case, it was always likely to prove difficult for the SSP to maintain momentum into the 2007 elections. In some senses it was too successful in 2003: with its key leaders entering parliament, it proved hard to maintain an extraparliamentary community presence (Fox 2007). The SSP’s disappointing result (5.2 per cent and no seats) in the June 2004 European elections presaged problems ahead. Nevertheless, the SSP’s second and final parliamentary term 2003–7 proved little more than a self-inflicted fiasco, dominated by Sheridan’s sudden resignation in November 2004 in order to fight allegations of sexual misdemeanours published in the News of the World tabloid, and the defamation case that followed in August 2006. Sheridan was replaced by Colin Fox, an experienced party activist lacking equivalent public profile, and the party’s support immediately suffered, polling just 1.9 per cent in the May 2005 UK general election (down from 3.1 per cent in May 2001). The detailed intricacies of the protracted crisis cannot concern us here.14 Nevertheless, in retrospect, the central dynamic was that the SSP executive refused to back Sheridan. Preferring him either to ignore or admit allegations that several of them clearly believed, SSP leaders opposed contesting them legally: ‘the issue was never about who was telling the truth and who was telling lies . . . it was a question of whether it was tactically permissible to go into court and lie, and [Sheridan] thought that was bonny’ (Fox 2007). Sheridan protested his innocence and saw it as a matter of class duty to fight a scandalous tabloid owned by ‘billionaire . . . anti-union tax dodger’ Rupert Murdoch (Solidarity 2008). The SSP forced his resignation.

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The ignominious result of a complete absence of consistent party line was that SSP members were summoned on opposing sides in a highly public court case (six defending Sheridan’s testimony, eleven disagreeing). Although this resulted in an initial £200,000 damages victory for Sheridan in 2006 (adeptly burnishing his ‘wee man’ image by conducting his own defence), it proved to be a Pyrrhic one, as he was sentenced to a three-year jail term in January 2011 for perjury. The inevitable outcome of the bitter court proceedings was a party split, with Sheridan immediately leaving to form the (un-ironically named) ‘Solidarity: Scotland’s Socialist Movement’. In the May 2007 Holyrood elections Solidarity tried to capitalize on Sheridan’s initial court victory – a picture of him marching with wife and daughter adorned its election manifesto (Solidarity 2007). The rump SSP adopted a left-libertarian image trying both to re-connect with the themes of the wider movement (‘people not profit’) and to re-emphasize the seriousness of its parliamentary achievements (SSP 2007). Yet both parties were appealing to the same electorate with very similar programmes, and the result of such appalling publicity, if not perhaps the full scale of it, was predictable. All six former SSP MSPs (including the two now representing Solidarity) lost their seats. Solidarity’s relative ‘success’ (1.7 per cent of the vote compared with just 0.6 per cent for the SSP), despite only gaining 20–30 per cent of the SSP’s 3000 members, probably resulted from Sheridan’s greater public profile than his former party’s. It is probable too that Sheridan was right when he claimed that, whatever the rights and wrongs of the court case, many former SSP voters regarded them as ‘doing one of their own in’ and ‘sid[ing] with the enemy’ (Sheridan 2007a). Given the perjury trial outcome, Fox’s view that the SSP’s debacle was traceable almost entirely due to Sheridan’s single ‘catastrophic poor decision’ (and party disagreements about how to handle it) has been vindicated (Fox 2007). Certainly the party split did not occur on traditional sectarian lines (the Socialist Workers and CWI, who often criticized Sheridan for his nationalism, joined Solidarity). Yet there were also policy related tensions that exacerbated the split (for example, the feminist wing headed by Rosie Kane and Carolyn Leckie were among the most critical of Sheridan in the aftermath of his resignation, while he in turn accused them of being a ‘gender-obsessed discussion group’). However, longer term reasons for the SSP’s failure can also be sought in its inability to find the balance between charismatic and collective leadership (Rogers 2006). The inability to routinize charisma is one of the major weaknesses of populist parties. While its leaders vehemently denied that the SSP was a one-man band, the party combined a dominant, publicly recognizable charismatic leader with a relatively decentralized internal structure, with voting for all main office bearers, regional organizers and conference delegates. After Sheridan was joined by five relatively unknown new MSPs in 2003, key differences in leadership style and public status increased internal frictions. For example Sheridan (2007a) regarded his comrades’ parliamentary stunts (including wearing denim) as indicating a lack of seriousness: ‘were we adult, were we mature, or was it a gang of kids?’ In the immediate aftermath of the 2007 debacle, both SSP and Solidarity were optimistic that they might still exploit the newly victorious Nationalists’ inability

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to fulfil their left-leaning agenda (e.g. Sheridan 2007a). But the SNP not only maintained popularity but was re-elected by a landslide in May 2011. Relations between former SSP and Solidarity leaderships remained venomous and there proved little prospect of two competing RLPs gaining the 4 per cent for parliamentary representation. Certainly, the 2010 Westminster elections showed no recovery for either party, with each polling 0.1 per cent.15 However, the collapse of the SSP and Sheridan’s incarceration created an obvious vacuum in 2011 for Respect, which had lost its UK seat in 2010. Galloway (who had previously honoured an agreement with his friend Sheridan that Respect would not organize in Scotland) joined Solidarity to head the ‘Coalition Against Cuts’ with an archetypally populist programme offering ‘to shake up the political establishment with a powerful voice for all those suffering from the rotten policies of the ConDem government’ [the Conservative–Liberal Democrat government in Westminster] (Coalition 2011). Given that Galloway had been a Glasgow MP (for Labour) from 1987 to 2005 and needed just 6 per cent of the vote on the Glasgow regional list to gain a Scottish Parliamentary seat, this was a shrewd move. However, in the event, he got just 3.3 per cent, and both the SSP and Solidarity fell to new lows (Table 6.1). The performance of the latter in particular indicates that the ‘Sheridan affair’ has lastingly discredited the Scottish radical left, perhaps for a generation. After such promising beginnings in 1999 and albeit for personal and not ideological reasons, the systemic sectarianism of the British ‘far left’ has reasserted itself with a vengeance.

The East European ‘parade of populisms’ In Western Europe, the appeal of populism remains wide but shallow: although populist rhetoric is pervasive across the party system, successful populist parties still remain the exception rather than the rule. In several countries further east, however, the appeal of populism is more deeply rooted in electoral preferences, even though individual populist parties still struggle to develop long-term viability. The propitious environment for populism in Eastern Europe has several explanations. In many respects the political landscape exhibits significant parallels with the drivers for Latin America’s ‘Left Turn’ (Castañeda 2006): relative to Western Europe these are lower trust societies, with greater social stratification, less stable and structured party systems and in general less institutionalized and more personalized political landscapes (Tismaneanu 1996). In Eastern Europe, the lack of historically entrenched parties mirrors the absence in much of Latin America of ‘mass-bureaucratic’ parties with stable institutionalized links to social movements, classes and organizations such as trade unions (Levitsky 2001). In Latin America, this absence allowed ‘mass populist parties’ to flourish, with charismatic leaders at the head of loosely institutionalized social movements. In Eastern Europe also, the elite-driven nature of democratic ‘transition’, combined with the prevalence of ex-communists, patronage and corruption, and the absence of strong democratic intermediary institutions, has led to

1991

1992

1998

3.5

1997

1.3

1996 5.1

1995

4.4

1993 1994

2.0

1999

2000 2001

5.9

4.0

2002

6.9

6.3

2003

2004

0.3

8.7

2005

16.6

0.1

0.4

0.1

1.7

9.9

2010 2011

0.4

11.9

2008 2009

0.6

2006 2007

Notes a Not a ‘relevant’ party according to my definition, but mentioned in the text and included here for clarity. Solidarity and Respect ran together as part of ‘Coalition against Cuts’ in 2011.

Source: www.parties-and-elections.de (data correct at 20 May 2011).

Germany 2.4 (LP) Netherlands (SP) UK (Scotland) (SSP) UK (Scotland) Solidaritya UK (Scotland) Respecta UK – Respecta

1990

Table 6.1 Relevant populist socialist parties in pan–European parliamentary elections, 1990–2011

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an anti-elite discourse of ‘revolution betrayed’, and a propitious environment for a ‘populist backlash’ involving a reassertion of dormant authoritarian political-cultural motifs (Rupnik 2007). Of course, there are significant exceptions: more prosperous countries with relatively structured party systems and greater political stability (e.g. the Czech Republic and Slovenia) have been less prone to populist appeals, except at the margins. But in many, populist parties have been a permanent and mainstream presence. This is particularly so in former ‘patrimonial communist’ countries, where the persistence of closed patronage networks, weak party systems and presidential forms of governance has provided an ideal environment for populist mobilization. Countries where ethno-cultural cleavages are strong (e.g. Latvia, Slovakia) have also provided incentives for nationalist populism ‘defending’ majority or minority peoples.

Classifying the unclassifiable: forms of social populism in Eastern Europe Such similarities in political environment between Eastern Europe and Latin America notwithstanding, no analogous ‘Left Turn’ has occurred in Eastern Europe. The ‘loss of geopolitical stigma’ after the Cold War that helped re-legitimize the Latin American left is not present (Castañeda 2006). As we have already noted, the attraction of ‘returning to Europe’ and discarding the controversial communist legacy propelled successor parties to adopt a pro-European socialdemocratic and avowedly non-radical idiom. Compared with Latin America, disillusion with neo-liberalism and the Washington Consensus was insignificant in the critical formative years of post-communism, except in more peripheral and economically troubled states. Indeed, clear forms of ‘left-wing’ populism are harder to identify in Eastern Europe than Latin America. The prevalence of ‘nation-building’ issues (rediscovery of history, language and identity, border disputes, and problems of minority inclusion) has meant that many prominent East European populists have taken a more obviously (extreme) right-wing slant (for instance the Serbian Radical Party and Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Democratic Party of Russia). Moreover, a significant complication in identifying left-populists is the proliferation of archetypally populist parties whose ideology shifts according to circumstance. Such parties include Franjo Tuđman’s Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), which governed from 1990–1999, and Vladimír Mečiar’s Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), dominating government from 1992 till 1998. According to Sharon Fisher (2006: 61): The positioning of the HDZ and HZDS complicated the development of stable party systems. Both claimed to be Christian-oriented, centrist parties, but . . . it was difficult to place them on the traditional left-right scale as they swayed from conservative to leftist, depending on what was more convenient at the time and used populist rhetoric to attract voters of all persuasions. Other unclassifiable populists include Ukraine’s Yulia Tymoshenko bloc, which often flirted with leftist rhetoric (including reversing past privatizations) and considered joining the Socialist International before joining the conservative

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European People’s Party as observer in 2007. Nevertheless, several social populists (i.e. those which that are at least quasi-leftist) can be identified. Left social populists Relative to the populist socialists outlined above, left social populists are more obviously creations of one dominant leader, far less programmatically oriented, and far more single-issue: their principal raison d’être is to accuse the mainstream left of ‘selling out’, and they adopt an emotional, simplified defence of some of the cherished ideals of ‘pure’ socialism. These are the only even quasi-radical left social populists, albeit with many qualifications. One of the most relevant was the Association of Workers of Slovakia (ZRS), a splinter of the social democratic Party of the Democratic Left. ZRS, led by the demagogic Ján L’upták, articulated a non-ideological anti-intellectual and anti-establishment image as the defender of blue-collar workers, focusing on fundamental opposition to the privatization process, dubbed the ‘foundation of a speculative economy’ destroying Slovakia’s entire economic base and leading the world to ‘barbarism’ (Fisher 2006: 87). The ZRS’ trajectory was typically inconsistent: having polled respectably in October 1994, it entered a coalition with the populist HZDS and nationalist Slovak National Party (SNS), whom it proceeded to attack as profiting from privatization (an allegation that its partners returned). ZRS displayed a complete disinterest in consistent programmatic politics: while rejecting EU membership, the party’s written programme allegedly fully supported it – a position L’upták dismissed as a typing error (Kopecký and Mudde 2002)! The party’s lack of effectiveness in government led to permanent marginalization after 1998. Also archetypal is Ukraine’s Progressive Socialist Party (PSPU), which split from the Socialist Party of Ukraine in 1995 as the SPU attempted to social democratize. Leader Nataliya Vitrenko got the nickname ‘Zhrinovsky in a skirt’ because of her firebrand populist rhetoric and ability to quarrel with everybody (Wilson 2000). Vitrenko saw herself as Ukraine’s only ‘true Marxist’ and outlined a strongly nostalgic anti-Western platform, accusing the IMF of colonizing Ukraine and promising to expel all foreign advisers. Although the party performed strongly in 1998–9 (with 11 per cent in the 1999 presidential elections), this was largely because it was tacitly backed by the presidential administration in order to split the Communist/SPU vote. With this aim achieved, the authorities lost interest and the party dropped permanently below the 4 per cent parliamentary threshold in 2002, despite a residual regional strength in Russophile regions like Crimea. Other left social populists include the Latvian Unity Party (LVP), formed by the Communist Party’s orthodox wing, and headed by Soviet-era collective farm chair Alberis Kauls and the Moldovan Electoral Bloc ‘Fatherland’, which competed with the Moldovan Communists for nostalgic socialist voters before joining their party list in 2009 (ADEPT 2011). National-social populist parties National-social populist parties combine leftist welfare rhetoric with more marked ‘rightist’ nationalist, ethnocentric or even xenophobic policies. The classic

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example was Andrzej Lepper’s Polish Self-Defence movement (Samoobrona), whose highpoint was 11.4 per cent in the 2005 Polish legislative elections. Samoobrona’s radical anti-globalization, anti-neo-liberal rhetoric and cooperation with trade unions was combined with xenophobic nationalism (Krok-Paszkowska 2003). Despite a general ideological eclecticism/nihilism that makes it almost unclassifiable, the party’s ‘constant thread’ was its social populism as ‘a voice of social protest against liberalism’ (Pankowski 2010: 142). Most other national-socialist parties were successor parties emerging from ‘patrimonial communism’ who flirted with nationalist populism as a transitional stage towards a clearer left-wing profile. They were partially ‘transformed’ (from communism to social democracy), and partially or completely ‘transmuted’ (from internationalism to nationalism) (Bozóki and Ishiyama 2002: 6–7). Thus parties like the Social Democratic Party of Romania (PDSR, later PSD), Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), Socialist Party of Albania (PS), and the Socialist People’s Party of Montenegro (SNP) – an offshoot of the successor Democratic Party of Socialists that retained ties to the Serbian Socialist Party – renounced Leninism but spent the 1990s supporting an economically populist defence of the communist-era welfare state and insider networks, and promoting culturally nationalist policies. The archetypal, and most radical, national-social populist party was undoubtedly Slobodan Milošević’s Serbian Socialist Party (SPS). The SPS was ostensibly democratic socialist – its 1992 programme even argued that ‘the essence of democratic socialism is a commitment to . . . political, economic and cultural democracy’ (quoted in Malesevic 2002: 195). At the same time, the SPS’ nationalist policies, from its coalition with the Serbian Radical Party in the 1990s, to its tacit support for ‘ethnic cleansing’ policies throughout former Yugoslavia, received world-wide opprobrium. As a governing party, the SPS’ populism focussed both on communist-era bureaucracies who ‘behaved arrogantly and scornfully towards the people’ and on external enemies – the SPS saw the Serbs as the victimized people who resisted the world (Malesevic 2002: 194, 210). However, as noted previously, once these countries began to reform their politics and became exposed to the EU, their successor parties became social democratic. The remaining national-social populist parties are entirely marginal. For instance, the Romanian Socialist Labour Party was headed by Ceauşescu’s former Prime Minister Ilie Verdeţ. Portraying itself as the only legitimate successor to the national-communist ruling party, it was a close ally of the extreme right Greater Romania Party (Mungiu-Pippidi 2002). Yet, lacking attractive leaders and suffering internal splits, it fell permanently below the 3 per cent electoral threshold after 1996. The PSM merged with the (now social democratic) PSD in 2003, leaving those wishing to retain a communistic heritage to form the Socialist Alliance Party (PAS). PAS retains national-socialist leanings (even voting to rename itself the Romanian Communist Party in 2010), but has not regained national parliamentary representation.16 More influential (and also symptomatic) was the Russian Motherland (Rodina) bloc. In 2003, Motherland ran on a left-nationalist platform that combined ‘protest populism and identity populism’ (in the party’s own terms ‘social patriotism’)

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epitomized by proposals to expropriate wealth from Russia’s plutocrats (oligarchs) and to restore popular control over the authorities (Laruelle 2006). Motherland’s ideological position oscillated depending on leadership intrigue and opportunity, exploiting a popular backlash against benefits monetization (January 2005) and making a chauvinistic appeal to anti-immigrant sentiment, before its growing popularity angered the authorities and its (already highly fractious) leadership was replaced in March 2006. Motherland eventually evolved (after union with smaller left-wing blocs) into the more evidently left-wing (though still populist) Just Russia party, campaigning in 2007 on a ‘socialist’ platform of social justice directed against bureaucratic corruption as ‘the party of working people’ (March 2009a). Just Russia veered between radical quasi-communist rhetoric and a social-democratic image, finally settling on observer status in the SI in January 2008. The only consistent thing about the party was its loyalty towards the authorities, who had sponsored it in part to split the communist vote. Centrist social populists Finally, we can identify an increasing number of what Peter Učeň (2007) calls ‘centrist’ social populists: these parties are largely pragmatic, technocratic and non-ideological – their populism is based on attacking the alleged corruption and incompetence of all existing elites. They by no means articulate a radical critique of capitalism, but exploit certain left-wing slogans, often with great success (see Table 6.2) and many have been in government. Such parties include the Lithuanian Labour Party (DP), which in 2004 formed a disastrous coalition government with the Social Democrats and social-liberal New Union until withdrawing in 2006 mired in corruption scandals. The DP’s membership of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European parliament is misleading: the Lithuanian Social Democrats had vetoed its application to join the Party of European Socialists. More successful was the Slovak Direction-Social Democracy (Smer-SD), an offshoot of the Party of the Democratic Left (SDL’) formed in 1999 that initially adopted a defiantly ‘non-ideological’ position but gradually moved towards an antiestablishment social democracy having merged with the centrist-populist Civic Understanding Party (SOP) and three smaller social democratic parties (including the SDL) (Učeň 2007). In June 2006, Smer-SD entered a controversial governing coalition with the populist HZDS and radical right Slovak National Party (SNS). This coalition got Smer-SD suspended by the PES from October 2006 until February 2008 for ‘compromising with extreme nationalism and xenophobia’ (PES 2006). Its leader Róbert Fico initially responded in true populist style by arguing that it was punished ‘for its policy to the benefit of people’, although the PES’ ban was rescinded after Smer-SD and the SNS pledged to adhere to European human and minority rights.17 This brief survey reveals that East European social populists often demonstrate the common populist life-cycle: rapid but short-lived success based on articulating protest themes, followed by an inability to translate anti-elite opposition into

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145

effective governance. Additionally, this social populism is often only ambiguously left wing and ideologically inconsistent. Eastern Europe’s relatively unstructured political landscape means that the Hungarian Jobbik party, which declares itself ‘not imprisoned by an ideology [and having] the ability to cherry-pick from policies of either the Right or the Left’, is typical of populists in the region (Jobbik 2010). Such an environment provides potentially insurmountable obstacles to the development of a genuinely non-communist East European radical left. Certainly, quasi-left social populist parties can directly appeal to left-wing voters; for instance, the ZRS, PSPU and Just Russia have attracted former communists, while the Yulia Tymoshenko bloc and Samoobrona attracted former socialists. But more problematic is that social populist parties (as with Fianna Fáil limiting the success of Irish Labour in the 1920s-1940s) can prevent a genuine socialist left growing in the first place (Dunphy 2005). Certainly, the Lithuanian DP ‘was able to rocket from nothing to . . . electoral success on the back of a few radical-sounding slogans about defending poor, hard-working Lithuanians’ (Green 2004). Alongside dominant social democratic parties who occasionally adopt radical rhetoric, this results in ‘redwashing’ (disingenuously spinning policies as left wing), with potentially similar effects to the ‘greenwashing’ by which Western European mainstream parties have often co-opted the environmental agenda from the Greens. Moreover, the exploitation of left-wing slogans alongside ethnocentric and xenophobic rhetoric by parties who demonstrate little governing efficacy risks discrediting left-wing sentiments in toto.

Conclusion Is left-populism the future of socialism? On one hand, there is nothing new about it: populism’s emphasis on anti-elitism, democracy, and the representation of the excluded has made it a constant shadow of the left through various permutations and in various contexts. What is new is that contemporary developments allow the balance between populism and socialism to be recast. Until the collapse of communism, Marxism’s insistence on class-consciousness, organization, and doctrine meant at best a populist sheen to traditional RLP approaches and strategies. Now, the decline of Marxism has opened the way to new approaches in which populism (as an intrinsic component of contemporary politics) plays a large part. Accordingly, populism has become an increasingly important element of RLP success across Europe: in particular the populist socialist parties identified here have benefited from overlaying democratic socialist ideology with an inclusive cross-class anti-establishment emphasis as the vox populi. These parties trade heavily on the alleged ‘betrayal’ of social democrats, and address contemporary anti-globalization and anti-European insecurities just as does the populist right, although their critique is still addressed far more on socio-economic insecurities than ethnic or national ones. However, we have also identified potential problems to these parties’ growth, not least in translating an anti-elite identity into governing opportunities. Since this

Albania (PS) Bulgaria 47.2 (BSP) Greece 38.6 (PASOK) Estonia (EÜRP)a Ireland (Sinn Féin) Latvia (LVP) Lithuania (DP) Moldova (BePR)b Montenegro (SNP) Poland (Self–Defence)

1990

33.1

56.2

1.6

25.7

1991 1992

2.8

0.1

46.9

22.0

43.5

7.2

5.9

1993 1994 1995

41.5*

20.4

0.1

2.6

22.0

52.7

1996 1997

40.6

36.1

10.5

0.5

17.1*

41.5*

37.9*

6.5

2001 2002

1.8

0.5

6.1

43.8*

1998 1999 2000

Table 6.2 Relevant social populist parties in pan–European parliamentary elections, 1990–2011

2.2

28.4

40.6*

11.4

5.0

31.0*

8.9*

2003 2004 2005

13.9* 1.5

6.9

1.0

38.1*

2006 2007

9.0

16.5*



43.9*

17.7*

40.8*



2008 2009 2010

9.9



2011

46.1

36.7

7.4

* a b c

34.3

17.7

1.3 8.0 4.1

13.8

0.8

36.6

2.9

3.2 23.5

0.3

29.1

0.6

13.5

7.6

9.0

36.8*

as social democratic party EÜRP merged with Estonian Left Party to become Estonian United Left Party in 2008. In 2011 ran on lists of People’s Union of Estonia in 1994 as the Socialist Party and Unity Movement, 1998 as Socialist Unity, in 2001 as Electoral Bloc Unity. From 2009 ran on lists of Party of Communists as Just Russia.

15.5

2.2

3.0

28.8

21.5

27.7

Source: www.parties–and–elections.de (data correct at 20 May 2011).

Romania (PDSR/PSD) (PSM) Russia (Motherland) Serbia (SPS) Slovakia (SMER–SDS) (ZRS) (SOP) Ukraine (PSPU) UK–Northern Ireland (Sinn Féin) 26.2

1.3

5.6

7.7c 7.6

33.1*

0.2

34.8

26.9

148

Left-wing populism

anti-elite identity is more central to their appeal, these problems may be greater than those experienced by other RLPs. Certainly, to date populist socialists have used populism more as a discursive device than the core component of ideology, reflecting particular leaders’ style and parties’ marginalized position in the political system, whilst also (particularly in the German LP) helping to consolidate disparate party tendencies. In this respect, populism mirrors Euroscepticism as a ‘touchstone of dissent’ (Taggart 1998), mainly limited to parties on the periphery of their party system and often moderated as they face governing prospects – a process evident in the LP and particularly the SP. However, the LP, SP and SSP have all faced problems in adopting a post-populist identity, in particular the dependence on dominant, charismatic individuals. Additionally, in many countries the populist right retains greater ability to exploit electorally relevant protest sentiments (e.g. against immigration). So in Western Europe, populism will likely remain both a shadow and in the shadow of contemporary socialism, at least in the medium term. In Eastern Europe, populism is more visible and viable, and the near-term prospects for left-leaning social populism accordingly greater. Although East European populism has tended to be a nationalistic cross-class phenomenon with leftist accents rather than something truly radical left, relative socio-economic inequality and anti-elite distrust provide fertile ground issues for social populists to exploit. By the same token, their ideological incoherence and poor governing record remains their Achilles heel, at least in terms of becoming stable features on the electoral landscape. This instability perhaps offers hope for more institutionalized radical left parties to regain a foothold in the region. The ‘wild card’ in such calculations remains the after-effects of the international economic crisis. Certainly, it is highly likely that high unemployment and general socio-economic insecurity might lead to greater anti-establishment sentiment and new forms of radical populist mobilization claiming to articulate the dashed hopes of the ‘ordinary’ people (such has already been seen with Jobbik and the True Finns in 2010–1). It is still possible too that governmental instability may institute in some Western European countries the lasting crises and electoral volatility that have till recently been more characteristic of the East. However such prognoses play out, as a factor that at the very least must be reckoned with by both the left and its opponents, left-populism is here to stay.

7

Transnational party organizations Towards a new International?

Marx and Engels’ famous claim that ‘working men have no country’ (1998: 58) was a realistic evaluation of the situation of many workers in nineteenth-century Europe, dwelling in multinational, transnational empires where they had minimal power and representation. Marxism’s appeal for international workers’ unity was therefore a powerful supplement to the ideals of international brotherhood already articulated by the French Revolution. Ever since, the left has always claimed to be an international phenomenon, with pretensions to universal relevance beyond national boundaries. Yet the practice of socialist internationalism was far more complex than its aspirations. Marx and Engels even conceded that the proletariat was ‘national’, since it must become the leading class of each nation and settle matters with its own bourgeoisie before world revolution (1998: 49). However, the ignominious collapse of the social democratic Second International in 1914 led communists to believe that international social democracy had become national simply ‘in the bourgeois sense of the word’ (ibid: 58), by succumbing to national egoism and discarding international class aims. However, the Soviets proved little better at reconciling ‘the internationalism of communism and the form in which it was contained, the national state’ (Sakwa 1998: 254). Initially, the Communist International (Comintern) was an embryonic global party designed to help national parties both defend the USSR and overthrow global capitalism. But Stalin’s thesis of ‘socialism in one country’ held that Russia could build socialism despite declining prospects for world revolution and transformed national parties and ‘proletarian internationalism’ into obedient defenders of the ‘Soviet fortress’ (i.e. subordinating them to the USSR’s national interests) (Mandel 1978: 14). The Cominform from 1947–56 institutionalized this process, being designed to contain Soviet power in the East rather than expand communism in the West (Sakwa 1998: 261). More symptomatically still, after the Cominform’s demise, the communist ‘movement’ became a series of increasingly infrequent international conferences (the last in 1969) maintaining an ever more tenuous ‘unity in diversity’ as parties sought to defend their national autonomy. After Mikhail Gorbachev became Soviet leader in 1985, international communism was increasingly seen as an ideological, organizational and financial burden that the Kremlin no longer needed (Urban 1992). Tellingly, the last international

150

Transnational party organizations

communist event of note, the October Revolution seventieth anniversary celebrations (November 1987) invited many non-communist parties, reflecting the Kremlin’s wish to overcome barriers between communism and social democracy. This desire undermined the very rationale for an independent communist movement as such. Given the already noted reorientation of contemporary RLPs towards a ‘nationally authentic socialism’, we might expect internationalism to mean little today. However, this is emphatically not the case, as this chapter will indicate. While RLPs’ national interests take more obvious priority than they ever did in the Soviet era, for most, commitments to international cooperation and solidarity remain strong, and indeed have intensified. Just as at a national level, the international radical left is undergoing complex processes of ongoing decline (particularly among the CPs) and organizational/ideological mutation. However, the overall picture is of increasingly coherent consolidation since the late 1990s, expressed above all in new multilateral organizations at EU level. Whilst falling far short of a new International, the broadly cohesive international strategic and ideological outlook of the European radical left (partially excepting the conservative communists), is clear evidence of its increasing coherence as an identifiable ‘party family’. The principal forms of contemporary radical left internationalism are as follows: (cf. Gleumes and Moreau 1999): 1) Party-to-party bilateralism: formal and informal bilateral/regional contacts between parties; 2) Party-to-regime bilateralism: bilateral contacts between parties and still-existing communist regimes and/or non-communist but sympathetic regimes; 3) Party-to-party multilateralism: coherent international RLP forums and organizations; 4) Party participation in ‘front’ and ancillary organizations: for example, trade unions, youth groups, and peace groups, many of which maintain international contacts; 5) Party participation in social movements; principally, the global justice movement (GJM). In this chapter, we concentrate on the first three aspects of international radical left activity, since here political parties dominate. The latter two spheres, where parties compete for influence with NGOs and pressure groups, are examined in detail in Chapter 8 as part of the discussion of the interaction between parties, non-party organizations and social movements.

Party-to-party bilateralism/regionalism Communist parties continue to have the most developed bilateral relations, albeit these often assume a declarative character because of the adverse material situation of many. Most communist parties have continued to invite a wide number of

Transnational party organizations

151

international partners to their regular party congresses, even if many respond with greetings rather than actual attendance. Few parties are as open as the (tiny) German Communist Party, which in 1996 listed 110 ‘fraternal parties’ with which it still maintained international relations, albeit most of microscopic size (Gleumes and Moreau 1999). However, the Czech KSČM claims to maintain links with ‘more than a hundred communist, left and workers’ parties all over the world’ including in India, Japan and South Africa.1 Several parties maintain regular bilateral links with those to which they are especially ideologically or geographically close. For example, the KSČM’s closest links are with the Slovakian KSS and German LP, whilst the Russian KPRF, Ukrainian KPU and Moldovan PCRM maintained close links through the 1990s (now weakened owing to the decline of the former two). The Dutch SP and Swedish V (which reject formalised transnationalism) have, since 2007, run informal gatherings of non-conservative parties (such as the NGL, AKEL and LP) who share experiences on strategy towards social democrats and government participation (SP 2007b). Symptomatically, links have often been less developed between parties from different traditions, although the multilateral forums detailed below have begun to overcome this. For example, the (ex-Trotskyist) SSP had strong links with the (ex-Trotskyist) French LCR rather than the PCF (still regarded as ‘Stalinist’); in contrast, the website of the Greek KKE (www.kke.gr) lists solely communist partners, including microscopic parties like the Finnish Communist Party but ignoring the Nordic Green Left. Several conservative communists (principally the KKE and PCP) have re-instituted the Soviet practice of regular international communist conferences. One of the most significant was the May 1998 meeting ‘Communist parties in actual conditions’ organized by the KKE in Athens to commemorate both its eightieth anniversary and The Communist Manifesto’s 150th anniversary (Gleumes and Moreau 1999). This meeting drew 57 parties, and became the prototype for annual International Meetings of Communist and Workers’ Parties (IMCWP) organized worldwide on themes such as opposition to EU education reform and labour policies, NATO and the 2003 Iraq war, anti-militarism and solidarity with Cuba. For example, the November 2007 meeting in Minsk, Belarus, was organized by the Russian KPRF and Communist Party of Belarus to commemorate the October Revolution’s ninetieth anniversary, and gathered 154 representatives of 72 communist and workers’ parties (Solidnet 2007). The KKE has clearly seen itself as the nucleus of a new internationalism, setting up Solidarity Network (www.solidnet.org) as one of the first (albeit rudimentary) attempts to inform and coordinate international communist activity online. The party has also presided over frequent regional initiatives, such as a January 2011 Balkan Meeting of Communist Parties, encompassing a range of tiny south-east European CPs (such as the New Communist Party of Yugoslavia and Turkish Labour Party), and meetings inviting CPs from the south-east Mediterranean and Middle East. But other parties have also produced initiatives – for example, the KSČM organized a Prague commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the ‘defeat of fascism’ in April 2005.

152

Transnational party organizations

Such conferences play a significant organizational, informational, and propagandistic role, gathering as they do parties across Europe and from as far as Argentina and Sudan. Despite a nucleus of conservative communists, reformist communists (PCF, Rifondazione) and non-communists (Swedish V) have occasionally attended. However, given the miniscule political weight of many participants (e.g. the Communist Party of Britain), the main achievements are undoubtedly psychological. Certainly no party is willing or able to take on the funding burden relinquished by Moscow.

Party-to-regime bilateralism There are three principal types of regimes with which RLPs retain strong links: 1) surviving communist states; 2) Latin American left-leaning states such as Venezuela and Bolivia: 3) formally non-socialist but nevertheless ‘anti-imperialist’ states. Most CPs have overcome historical suspicions of Maoism to regard the People’s Republic of China as a major example of contemporary ‘really existing’ socialism that has managed to ‘profit from capitalism without capitulating to it’ (Gleumes and Moreau 1999: 129). Chinese economic growth, political stability and the continued hegemony of the party make a stark and inspiring contrast to the ignominious demise of the USSR. Accordingly, China has played a particularly important ideological role for those once-ruling communist parties (such as the KSČM, PCRM and KPRF) who argue that some former ruling party traditions remain relevant. However, for contemporary CPs as a whole, China plays more of a symbolic function than an example to be emulated, despite bilateral meetings and exchanges of communist delegates at party congresses (Handl 2005). Whilst not capitulating to capitalism, China has hardly challenged it, especially outside its own borders, and, has sought to maintain constructive relationships with its ideological ‘foes’, above all the US. Conservative communists (such as the KKE, PCP and elements within the PCF) criticize China’s growing market economy, whilst China’s authoritarianism scarcely enamours it to anti-Stalinist parties such as Rifondazione or democratic socialists. Communist ties with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam are also relatively lowkey and largely confined to exchanges of delegates at party forums. Despite rapid economic growth, Vietnam remains a relatively poor country of little direct relevance as a political or economic model for most of the European left, with its economic openness in particular being suspect to conservatives. However, the aftermath of the Vietnam War has reinforced the myth of the ‘heroic Vietnamese people’ against ‘American imperialism’, which keeps its relevance alive in the communist press (Gleumes and Moreau 1999: 130). Furthermore, most West European countries (particularly Germany, France and the UK) have societies analogous to the Franco-Vietnamese Friendship Society, which descend originally from the 1970s, highlight the ongoing after-effects of the war (for example illnesses due to chemical weapons), seek compensation for war victims and continue to celebrate war anniversaries, thereby perpetuating its topicality.

Transnational party organizations

153

Given its totalitarian regime, support for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (usually couched as solidarity with the people of North Korea against Western imperialism) is a sure-fire indication of a conservative-communist orientation. Symptomatically, the KKE and PCP are the parties most vocally supportive, having participated in several working visits, whilst the KSČM has also occasionally expressed sympathy. The PCF, once sympathetic, is now officially critical. For example, it has condemned North Korean missile testing as provocative (PCF 2006). However, CILRECO (the International Liaison Committee for Reunification and Peace in Korea) is still headed by Guy Dupré, a former PCF Central Committee member, and seeks Korean reunification and the withdrawal of US forces. Generally, relations between most communist parties and North Korea have been problematic, given the regime’s unilateralism and propensity for hard-line initiatives such as the New Communist International (which was founded in Sofia in 1995 but only ever existed on paper) (Gleumes and Moreau 1999). North Korea’s closest links with any European party (the KKE excepted) are with the tiny (Maoist) Workers’ Party of Belgium (Parti du Travail de Belgique), which hosts the annual International Communist Seminar, a major worldwide communist gathering.2 Most reform communists distance themselves from North Korea, and almost all the non-communist left do. For example, a November 2005 ‘Solidarity statement’ was signed by 59 communist and workers’ parties, but not those of France, Italy, Spain, or Cyprus (KKE 2005b). Cuba is the communist state which retains the most talismanic importance for the communist and non-communist left alike. The former laud Cuba’s geopolitical role as a tiny socialist thorn in the palm of imperialistic Uncle Sam. For the latter, Che Guevara, popular-revolutionary mobilization and Cuba’s inspiration for 1968 are more vital (Raby 2006). As a consequence, direct and indirect party links with Cuba proliferate across the radical and non-radical left. Party leaders as diverse as Gennadii Zyuganov (KPRF), Tommy Sheridan (SSP), Ken Livingstone (former London Mayor, UK Labour Party) and Steve Stevaert (former leader of the Flemish Socialist Party-Different, SP.a) have visited Cuba for a ‘socialist suntan’. Party meetings make regular solidarity declarations and resolutions for an end to the US trade embargo. Party activists make frequent visits, facilitated by party linked Cuban solidarity structures such as the LP’s Cuba Sí and PCF’s Cuba Si France and by more independent friendship organizations such as the UK’s Cuba Solidarity Campaign, which offers biannual political educational working holiday ‘brigades’ in Cuba and has close trade union links. The PCF, LP and Rifondazione have been at the forefront of organizing international contacts and aid to Cuba (Gleumes and Moreau 1999). Latterly, the plethora of left-leaning regimes emerging across Latin America since the late 1990s (principally Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil and Nicaragua) have given RLPs several new international lodestars whose attraction has come to rival Cuba’s, even though their socialist credentials are not always impeccable. For example, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s ‘Bolivarian revolution’ initially bypassed the organized left; only after December 2004 did he declare the revolution socialist and begin to form a unified socialist party. Nevertheless,

154

Transnational party organizations

Venezuela’s vehement anti-US and anti-neo-liberal rhetoric, wealth redistribution and solidarity with Cuba is of obvious delight even to conservative communists since it indicates ‘the prospect of a more profoundly anti-imperialist struggle and of achieving socialism’ (PCP 2006). Non-communists tend to place more emphasis on the indigenous grass-roots mobilization at the heart of movements like Bolivian President Evo Morales’ Movement for Socialism and to draw lessons in grass-roots democracy relevant for the wider anti-capitalist movement (cf. Raby 2006). Institutional links between European RLPs and the Latin American regimes have grown rapidly since the inauguration in Porto Alegre, Brazil, of one of the epicentres of the GJM, the World Social Forum (see next chapter). New friendship societies such as the British Venezuela Solidarity Campaign and Hands off Venezuela! (both set up following the 2002 US-backed coup against Chávez) distribute media and encourage transnational links among party and trade-union activists. The latter society has affiliates in over 30 countries and an especially strong presence in Belgium, France, Italy, Poland, Germany and Denmark. The Latin American left is now one of the major darlings of European left literature and film (e.g. Ali 2006; Pilger 2007). Chávez in particular has actively courted this attention, being received as far afield as London (by Livingstone), Rome (by Bertinotti) and Moscow (by the KPRF). In doing so he has eclipsed President Lula of Brazil (in office 2003–2011) as one of the radical left’s principal international heroes. Lula’s Workers’ Party (PT) has followed a more centre-left and US-friendly path that is disappointing to many RLPs. Several, especially those of a Trotskyist extraction such as the SSP and NPA, have switched their attentions from the PT to its small radical splinter, the Socialism and Freedom Party (P-SOL). A chief characteristic of conservative communists versed in Marxist-Leninist theories of imperialism is to express solidarity with those ‘anti-imperialist’ states, which, whilst not being communist, play useful geopolitical roles as obstructive nuisances for the ‘imperialist’ Euro-Atlantic alliance. Most RLPs were united in condemnation both of the role of NATO in bombing Yugoslavia in 1999 (acting without a UN mandate, out of area and initially exacerbating the humanitarian disaster) and the unambiguously catastrophic US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and sought to express solidarity with the traumatized populations of these states. Similarly, support for people in Palestine and Lebanon against Israel’s highly controversial ‘counter-terrorist’ incursions is characteristic of RLPs. However, some of the conservatives have long expressed solidarity with noxious non-communist regimes that goes far beyond support for their oppressed population. In particular, the Russian KPRF and Ukrainian KPU maintained strong bilateral links with Slobodan Milošević and the Iraqi Ba’ath Party until their respective downfalls, as well as with Alyaksandr Lukashenka, uber-authoritarian President of Belarus. Support for these regimes was not solely the preserve of the Easterners, either: KKE leader Aleka Papariga offered her ‘full solidarity’ with Milošević in January 2001 (Athens News Agency 2001). In November 2005, 55 communist parties (principally those supporting North Korea at the same meeting) protested

Transnational party organizations

155

NATO-led pressure for ‘regime change’ in Belarus, but said absolutely nothing of Lukashenka’s atrocious human rights record (KKE 2005c). This reflex anti-imperialism was at least consistent. Other CPs had to tread a fine line between criticizing the Euro-Atlantic powers and defending dictators. For example, former Rifondazione leader Fausto Bertinotti denied allegations that party members had attended the 2000 Serbian Socialist Party congress before Milošević’s fall (see Radical Association Adelaide Aglietta 2003). In contrast, by accepting the need for intervention, the PCF and Italian PdCI allegedly tacitly supported NATO’s Kosovo action (Pratschke 1999). Some have sought to portray the left’s opposition to the 2003 Iraq war as motivated by a similarly blind antiimperialism (e.g. Cohen 2007). This may indeed apply to elements of the extreme left and Hussein allies like the KPRF. However, in the Iraq case, the US-led coalition’s disastrous record seems to vindicate much of the left’s critique!

The decay of traditional multilateral forums Whilst these older forms of bilateralism have survived the cold war, the same is not true of those communist international organizations still extant, which maintain a very tenuous existence, and have generally been superseded by the regional party conferences already mentioned and the newer EU-centric organizations outlined below. The aspiration to maintain a Comintern is sometimes expressed by conservatives but, apart from the above-mentioned New Communist International, the only initiative emanating from Western Europe was the brief attempt by the French, Greek and Portuguese parties to maintain a ‘third-and-a-half’ international with East Germany, Vietnam and North Korea in 1990 (Bell 1996). Little more successful was the Union of Communist Parties–Communist Party of the Soviet Union (SKP-KPSS) which, after 1993, acted as the main discussion forum for 19 former components of the CPSU, facilitating exchanges of information and delegates (KPRF 2011). Yet this organization was more an attempt to hold onto former CPSU assets than to form a new International per se, and never sought to expand beyond the former USSR. However, even in this limited aim, it was hamstrung by internal factionalism between USSR-nostalgics (its founders) and nationally orientated pragmatists rejecting any substantive supranational inclinations. KPRF pragmatists reasserted party control over the SKP-KPSS in a 2001 leadership coup, leaving the ‘Union’ party a weak satellite of the national one, in a curious inversion of history. Symptomatically, neither Trotskyist nor Maoist internationals have filled the vacuum. They always lacked sufficient state support to impose even formal unity, and latterly their subdivision has proceeded apace. There are now at least 20 Trotskyist Internationals, including several Fourth Internationals claiming to be the original founded in 1938 by Trotsky. There are even several nascent Fifth Internationals (which at least recognize that their predecessors are irredeemably fractured). The primus inter pares is arguably the Reunified Fourth International (FI), reunified in 1963 and allegedly the largest, containing over 60 small groups including Sinistra Critica (within Rifondazione until 2007), and the French LCR/NPA, which

156

Transnational party organizations

has nevertheless indicated it might disaffiliate.3 The London-based Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) and International Socialist Tendency (IST) also claim a broad geographical spread.4 Membership is not published, although given the marginality of most constituent groups, the total number of activists in most Internationals numbers hundreds rather than thousands. Nevertheless, these Internationals compensate for numerical weakness with prolific activity, particularly online. Portals such as the World Socialist Web Site (www.wsws.org, affiliated to the International Committee of the Fourth International and one of the most widely read socialist net resources) are widely quoted even by non-Trotskyists and facilitate networking between groupuscules embedded in larger parties such as Rifondazione and the Spanish United Left (IU). The direct political impact of all the Trotskyist Internationals is, however, rarely more than zero. Finally, Maoist internationals have been still more negligible in European (and world) politics, given the Chinese Communist Party’s already noted lack of engagement with building a new Comintern. One major exception is the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM), founded in 1984 with approximately 15 member parties. The RIM supports revolutionary war, and some of its key members, such as the Communist Party of Peru (also known as Shining Path, Sendero Luminoso), and the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) have put theory into practice. However, it has no significant European members. Slightly more active in Europe is the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations, organized by the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany, and uniting some thirty parties (van Hüllen 2008).5 Symptomatically, however, this party’s national electoral highpoint was just 0.1 per cent (in 2005).

The emergence of European left integration One of the most significant contemporary developments in the European radical left has been an increasing focus on greater cohesion at EU level to the detriment of refounding global umbrella organizations. This is unsurprising: the 1992 Maastricht Treaty (amongst other things initiating monetary union and greater political integration) made ‘Europe’ a reality in mass political consciousness and fostered multiple attempts to increase, adapt or resist integrative processes. One of the first such initiatives was the New European Left Forum (NELF) which was founded in Madrid in 1991 on the initiative of the Spanish United Left and gradually expanded to encompass a diverse spectrum of parties from seventeen countries around the axis of the PCF and LP (Gleumes and Moreau 1999). Meeting twiceyearly in different European cities, this was the first multilateral forum to bridge divides between different communist and non-communist traditions, but nevertheless one that deliberately eschewed a Comintern-like structure in favour of loose networking. It furthered links between parties as diverse as the Dutch GreenLeft, the NGL and the CPs of France, Italy and Austria, and helped cement connections with the EP and extra-parliamentary groups such as the European Social Forum (see Table 7.1). As Hudson notes (2000: 18), the NELF’s most significant role was in forging an international policy consensus over such issues as anti-neo-liberalism,

Transnational party organizations

157

democratization of the EU, job-creation initiatives, increases in public spending, and opposition to NATO-led militarism. Indeed, opposition to NATO action in Yugoslavia in 1999 helped extend contacts to Eastern Europe, with parties like the KSČM and KPRF involved in debates over European security at the Madrid NELF meeting in July 1999. Though still currently extant, by 2004–5 the NELF was increasingly superseded by the European Left Party (PEL), based around a similar core of parties (see below). Another initiative was the European Anti-Capitalist Left (EACL), set up in 2000 to articulate a staunchly anti-integrationist position against the Nice Treaty. The EACL comprises extreme left and (ex-)Trotskyist parties (such as the French LCR/NPA, Danish EL and SSP).6 Although Hanley (2008: 154) regarded the EACL as once a potential rival for the PEL, the EACL has, since 2005, met Table 7.1 European affiliation of relevant Radical left parties (2011) Country

Party

Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark

AKEL

Finland France Germany Greece Iceland Italy Latvia Luxembourg Moldova Netherlands Norway Portugal Russia San Marino Slovakia Spain Sweden UK (Scotland) Ukraine

KSČM EL SF VAS PCF LP KKE SYN VG PRC PdCI LSP LÉNK PCRM SP SV PCP BE KPRF RCS KSS PCE/IU V

UKP-KPSS

NELF

EACL NGLA GUE-NGL PEL

Observer

Obs. Obs. a

Associate

Obs. Obs.

Assoc. Assoc.

Obs.

Assoc. Obs. Assoc. Obs.

Obs.

SSP KPU

Source: www.parties-and-elections.de, GUE/NGL and PEL websites, www.broadleft.org/leftsoc.htm, www.anticapitalistleft.org (accessed 6 May 2011). Note a Formally, EL does not stand independently in EP elections, but supports the Eurosceptic June Movement and Peoples Movement against the EU. Current MEP Søren Søndergaard, elected on the ticket of the Peoples Movement against the EU, is a former EL MP.

158

Transnational party organizations

irregularly and largely fallen into abeyance. The occasional participation of PEL members like Rifondazione, Synaspismós and Bloco has also defused competition somewhat. RLPs in the European parliament The role of transnational parties (TNPs, (con)federations of parties at the European level, which coordinate the work of national political parties and party groups in the EP), has increased exponentially since the early 1990s, although the dominance of national parties within them means that TNPs remain transnational rather than truly supranational (e.g. Bardi 2004; Hanley 2008). Despite lagging somewhat behind the other main party families, the radical left is increasingly no exception. Central to this process have been attempts to empower and (partially) democratize the EP. Party groups have assumed an ever greater role within the EP since it was first elected in 1979 (prior to this members were delegated from national parliaments). Since Maastricht in particular, the parliament has assumed greater powers and profile, with the rights of ‘co-decision’ (sharing legislative approval with the European Council), amending the EU budget, and confirming the European Commission in office among its most significant powers.7 TNPs such as the Christian democratic European People’s Party (EPP) and the social democratic Party of European Socialists (PES) originally date from the 1970s and play a coordinating role, principally through joint legislative activity in the EP, regular executive committee meetings, ‘summits’ of party leaders prior to European Council meetings that set the EU agenda, and manifesto coordination during the quinquennial EP elections (e.g. Lightfoot 2005). The radical left (organized in 1973–1989 in the ‘Communist and Allies Group’) was historically one of the weakest EP groups. It was fundamentally divided over the nature and potential of the European Union (Bell 1996: Dunphy 2004). ‘Eurocommunist’ parties such as the PCI and PCE became increasingly integrationist, believing that the European Community (EC) could be reformed from within in a progressive direction under the auspices of a renewed European left. However, conservative communists such as the PCF, PCP and KKE (Exterior) remained loyal to Moscow’s view of the EC as an unreformable anti-Soviet, capitalist project and continued to oppose supranationalism, while advocating withdrawal from the EC/EU and ‘national roads to socialism’ (for more see Dunphy 2004). Consequently, RLPs were consistently unable even to form common policy positions, let alone a European election manifesto or a proper transnational federation, splitting from 1989 to 1994 into two attenuated groups, formed around the PCI (Group for a United European Left) and PCF (Left Unity). Only after the 1994 EU elections did the EP group begin to recover. The Confederal Group of the United European Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) was formed in 1994–5, driven by strong electoral performances from more reformist parties such as the IU and Rifondazione (who initiated the consolidation) and by the accession of elements of the NGL following EU enlargement to Sweden, Finland and Denmark in 1995. However, GUE/NGL was still only the fifth

11.1 4th 434

48

9.1

%

Vote %

MEPs

1984

1979

4th 518

47

MEPs 5.4 2.7

%

1989

Notes a from 1994 as Confederal Group of United European Left; from 1995 as GUE/NGL b 50 MEPs by 2004.

Source: www.parties-and-elections.de

Communist and Allies Group Group for a United European Lefta Left Unity Group rank Total

Group

Table 7.2 European parliamentary elections: RLP performance and seats

28 14 6th/9th 518

MEPs 5.3

%

1994

5th 626

33

MEPs 6.7

%

1999

5th 626

42b

MEPs

5.2

%

2004

6th 785

41

MEPs

4.8

%

2009

6th 736

35

MEPs

160

Transnational party organizations

largest group (see Table 7.2) and was far from a cohesive unit, with its ‘Confederal’ name reflecting constituent parties’ still-potent Comintern-aversion and desire for autonomy. As its founding declaration stated, it was a ‘forum for cooperation between its different political components, each of which retains its own independent identity and commitment to its own positions’ (GUE/NGL 1994). Since 1995, GUE/NGL has consolidated and maintained a relatively stable electoral performance (see Table 7.2). No longer dominated by the twin poles of the PCF and PCI, it has become a far more diverse body, with its 2009–14 convocation representing 17 parties from 12 states of the EU-27, including for the first time Irish and Latvian Socialist Party MEPs. Furthermore, GUE/NGL has become an active forum for international cooperation as the locus for frequent meetings between party leaders, receptions of national delegations and (in contrast to the situation before 1989) coherent policy statements on issues as diverse as labour legislation, US Missile Defence, EU-Palestine relations and climate change (GUE/NGL 2009). In this way, GUE/NGL has furthered a tentative policy consensus over Europe (cf. Benedetto and Quaglia 2007). A spectrum of RLP views towards the EU can be identified, views that are more nuanced than the usual designation of ‘Euroscepticism’ allows (cf. Dunphy 2004: 4–6): anti-integrationism, selective integrationism, critical pro-integrationism and uncritical pro-integrationism. Until 1989, RLPs were damagingly divided between anti-integrationists (e.g. PCF, KKE) and critical pro-integrationists (e.g. PCI, PCE). Now, however, staunch anti-integrationists who support EU-withdrawal such as the KKE, PCP and the Swedish V are in a minority, whilst many (e.g. PCF, AKEL and the SP) adopt a selectively integrationist position, that is rejecting the really existing EU’s neo-liberal agenda but accepting ad hoc progressive integration where it democratizes the EU or promotes labour protection, environmentalism, feminism and minority rights. Many parties (especially the IU, VAS, Rifondazione and the LP) are increasingly critically pro-integrationist; that is, they have a more optimistic, proactive view of the possibilities of left politics at European level achieved via EU integration. Relative policy consensus has allowed GUE/NGL to adopt a flurry of concrete policy proposals such as the 35-hour working week, the Tobin tax on international financial transactions (see next chapter) and in 2005–6 to spearhead the opposition to the EU’s Services Directive (known as the ‘Bolkestein directive’ after its author, Commissioner Frits Bolkestein) that aimed to create a single market for services within the EU. The most notorious element of the directive was its ‘country of origin’ principle that permitted EU firms to comply only with the laws of their ‘home’ country (where they were registered). GUE/NGL argued that ‘Bolkenstein’ would engender a ‘race to the bottom’ in workers’ rights and ‘social dumping’ by companies relocating to less regulated economies (e.g. in Eastern Europe). Nevertheless, GUE/NGL remains far from a unified actor; indeed its voting behaviour remains the least cohesive of any EP faction except the extreme right (Votematch 2011a). Despite its overall selective integrationist consensus, it is

Transnational party organizations

161

difficult to move beyond a lowest-common-denominator unity to more specific positive policies in areas where party positions are very divergent (e.g. EU enlargement and enhancing the powers of the EP). Besides, GUE/NGL still retains a strong commitment to ideological pluralism as the ‘cornerstone for good cooperation’ (Bisky 2009). Moreover, the group’s small size risks it becoming a dumping ground for unhappy leftists of various stripes (Dunphy 2004: 172). This danger was weakened when the quarrelling French Trotskyists of the LCR and Lutte ouvrière lost their seats in 2004, but strengthened by the accession of the Irish left-nationalist Sinn Féin and the Danish People’s Movement against the EU after the 2004 elections. Moreover, at no point has GUE/NGL emulated the radical left’s pre-1989 European strength (see Table 7.2). In particular, its weakness in Eastern Europe helped it slip from fourth to sixth largest EP group after the 2004 EU enlargement. This absence of parliamentary weight is compounded by the EP’s nature as a consensus-based institution, which lacks the ability to form an executive, must always work with the EU Council and Commission to achieve its decisions and performs most of its work in committees (Ladrech 1996). In this institutional set-up, the ‘big two’ EPP and PES (now the Socialists and Democrats group, S&D) often collaborate with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats to form pragmatic legislative majorities, leaving minor parties marginal (Votematch 2011b). A strong left–right policy cleavage over socio-economic issues does exist in the EP and GUE/NGL cooperation with the S&D and Green groups occasionally helps further a left-leaning agenda, yet these three groups combined have never come close to a majority of seats. GUE/NGL has gained a share of parliamentary positions (distributed proportionally) and its president and vice president sit exofficio on the parliament’s steering groups (Conference of Presidents and Bureau). But in 2009 GUE/NGL secured just one of 20 committee presidencies – Eva-Britt Svensson (from the Swedish V) chaired the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality. This marginal position gives GUE/NGL little chance of implementing policies in isolation or electing its own parliamentary president. Symptomatically, although Svensson’s challenge to EPP member Jerzy Buzek for EP president in July 2009 gained a respectable 89 votes, the contest was pre-decided by agreement between the PES, EPP and the Liberals (Willis 2009). Similarly, it was these three groups who ensured that a diluted version of the Bolkestein directive (removing the ‘country of origin’ principle) passed a vote in the EP in November 2006, despite GUE/NGL still voting against. In addition, the radical left’s general lack of representation in national government gives it no executive power in the EU: it has little chance of getting a commissioner or affecting the election of the commission president. The presence of AKEL in government in Cyprus has not improved this: Communist President Dimitris Christofias has concentrated on the Cyprus problem not socialism, and indicatively voted for the EPP’s José Barroso as Commission President in 2009 (GUE/NGL and indeed AKEL MEPs opposed Barroso).8 In addition, small groups in the European parliament lead a precarious existence. It is generally accepted that EP elections are ‘second-order’ elections with

162

Transnational party organizations

far less at stake for the voters than in ‘first-order’ national contexts (e.g. Reif and Schmitt 1980). Smaller parties such as the Greens and RLPs can do (marginally) better in EU elections as voters experiment with unorthodox or protest sentiments (e.g. Hix and Marsh 2007). However, these sentiments may be transient and the smaller EU parties suffer a great deal of turnover from election to election as their component parties rise and fall, further complicating policy cohesion (e.g. the meltdown of the Italian communists cost GUE/NGL seven EP seats in 2009). Needless to add, the low visibility of the EP amongst the European public as a whole reduces any possibility of GUE/NGL using its parliamentary group as a ‘tribune’ to enhance the radical left’s status across Europe. The European Left Party Only in 2004 did the European left begin fully to become a TNP akin to the EPP, PES and even Greens, with the Party of the European Left coordinating (albeit loosely) national parties and the EP group. The PEL had its origins in a June 1998 Berlin NELF meeting that sought expressly to end the 1990s period of reorientation and ‘to build up a more concrete collaboration . . . to convey a common profile to [the] European Left’, starting with a common address to the 1999 EP elections (PEL 2009a). Subsequent NELF meetings in 2002 and 2003 saw the LP propose a European left party. The need to overcome divisions at EU level in order to combat dominant neo-liberalism, to prove an attractive partner to the GJM and to counteract rival extreme left groupings drove the PEL’s integration process (Hanley 2008: 146). From the outset, the PEL sought to overcome the legacy of ‘“patronizing” from Moscow’ and address the ‘very sensitive field of [party] sovereignty and independence’ by committing itself to the transparency and voluntary nature of the integration process (EL 2009a). Nevertheless, prior to the June 2004 EP elections, the PEL proposal moved slowly. Although the May 2004 founding congress elected Rifondazione head Bertinotti as PEL chair, the 2004 EP election manifesto was exceedingly vague, promising ‘a broad social and political alliance for a radical policy change by developing concrete alternatives and proposals for that necessary transformation of the present capitalist societies’ (PEL 2004a). The manifesto title ‘It’s just the beginning’ was honest to a fault. Nevertheless, the PEL institutionalized more rapidly after the 2004 elections. By 2011, it comprised 27 member parties and 11 observers in 24 countries across Europe. Although obviously still far smaller than the PES (with c. 50 members, associates and observers), there was much evidence of consolidation. First, the production of the first common EP manifesto in 2009 was regarded by the PEL’s second chair Lothar Bisky as a ‘minor sensation’ (Bisky 2009). Although the manifesto’s contents remained somewhat long on generalities and short on specifics, they were nevertheless a coherent distillation of RLP demands for ‘a peaceful and civil Europe, whose economies are socially and ecologically sustainable, that is feminist and develops on the basis of democracy and solidarity’ (PEL 2009b). Decrying the ‘failure of neo-liberal globalization’, the PEL argued for ‘changing

Transnational party organizations

163

the existing rules of the international economic and financial system’ (e.g. by submitting the European Central Bank to ‘public and democratic control’, taxing European financial transactions, nationalizing the credit and financial system, reversing privatization of public services and rebuilding a European welfare system with European-wide minimum wages and pensions). Amongst other policies, the PEL proposed further emissions cuts, reiterated support for NATO dissolution and a new demilitarized European security system based on the OSCE and UN, the further enlargement of the EU and development of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Second, the PEL developed an innovative range of activities as a bottom-up ‘network party’ – a ‘flexible, decentralized association of independent and sovereign European left-wing parties and political organizations which works on the basis of consensus’, open to all interested parties, citizens and movements (PEL 2004b). In particular, the PEL offered individual membership and ‘friendship circles’ outside its constituent parties. Furthermore, it contains a growing number of working groups (10 in 2011) intending to ‘open politics to citizens’, specializing in areas such as trade unions, gender (‘EL-Fem’), LBGT issues, local politics and climate change. Since 2006 the PEL has also run a Summer University for around 200 activists to discuss topics such as the financial crisis, Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, Latin America and EU Elections. As the following chapter will show, the PEL has also become an increasingly visible actor in the GJM. Certainly, it appears that in a short period the PEL has attained a level of integration and common purpose that the European radical left has not possessed for decades, which allowed it in 2007 to aspire to ‘closer links’ and ‘new forms of communication and cooperation among our parties at the European level’ in order to ‘launch . . . an effective left-wing alternative’ (PEL 2007). Nevertheless, in this aim it confronts some serious obstacles. Most damagingly, it has not managed to incorporate all relevant European RLPs. Although it is more than the core of reform communist parties it initially appeared (cf. Hanley 2008), the PEL has faced significant sceptics from the outset, who have either remained observers or not joined (see Table 7.1). Several parties saw the PEL as too moderate and pro-integrationist (especially since TNPs are partially EU-funded). For instance, the EACL cited the PEL’s anti-neo-liberalism as insufficiently anti-capitalist, and its opposition to government participation as insufficiently resolute (International Correspondence 2005). The EACL’s absence had negligible material impact. More potentially damaging was the absence of large conservative CPs. Opposition from the KKE and PCP was predictable: they saw the PEL as a reformist bloc aiming to manage rather than disengage from the EU, and to split the left (e.g. KKE 2005d; PCP 2005b). The KSČM was torn between its growing ties to the LP and inherent traditionalism, objecting to the PEL statutes (which condemn ‘undemocratic, Stalinist practices and crimes’) and enjoining the PEL to incorporate Eastern allies like the KPRF. Despite being rebuffed in these initiatives, the KSČM ultimately accepted observer status.

164

Transnational party organizations

Several non-communists also disagree with the PEL’s integration in EU structures, but also object to its reliance on a large number of tiny parties, either Stalinoid (e.g. the Hungarian Worker’s Party, a member until 2009, Romanian Socialist Alliance) conservative communist (German Communist Party) or simply irrelevant (Czech Party of Democratic Socialism, Estonian United Left Party). Currently, all member parties, be they the very smallest or those not even in the EU (such as the Moldovan PCRM) have equal representation in the PEL’s governing structures (Council of Chairpersons and Executive Board). The European Greens, another devolved and movement-like TNP, recognized that this equality principle caused decision-making amorphousness and now grant larger parties a greater role (Dietz 2000). The PEL is unlikely to follow suit, even though it recognizes the problems of cumbersome decision making, precisely because it regards itself as an important lifeline for smaller parties and recognizes that several parties will simply leave if a more centralizing line is adopted (Soeiro 2011). The most important absentees (apart from the Dutch SP, which is satisfied with its informal networks and regards the PEL as unnecessary) have been the NGL parties. Instead, they formed the Nordic Green Left Alliance (NGLA) in Reykjavík, Iceland in February 2004 (see Table 7.1). The NGLA was emphatically not a new party, but merely ‘a cooperation between independent and sovereign parties’ that sought to reinforce existing regional cooperation and strengthen the environmental and feminist elements of socialism, nationally as well as internationally (NGLA 2004). Nevertheless, with the exception of the Danish SF, which had joined the Green EP group in 1999, NGLA parties remained in GUE/NGL and sent observers to PEL events. Perhaps most damaging to the PEL’s aspirations is its lack of integration with GUE/NGL. Whereas in most party families, the EP group acts as the legislative arm of the TNP, attempting to translate its manifesto commitments into action, GUE/NGL is emphatically not the PEL parliamentary group; the PEL therefore remains a confederal ‘party of parties’. Certainly, several principal PEL members and observers belong to GUE/NGL, but non-PEL members like the PCP, KKE, SP and Sinn Féin still comprise over one-third of the group. PEL chair Lothar Bisky’s election as head of GUE/NGL in 2009 might have presaged greater integration between the PEL and GUE/NGL. However, recognition that this could split GUE/ NGL was one reason why Bisky demitted as PEL chair in December 2010. He was replaced by PCF chair Pierre Laurent, someone regarded as more sceptical towards PEL’s supranational possibilities.9 Nevertheless, PEL has continued to attract (mainly smaller) new members. The most significant was the accession of the Finnish VAS in late 2009. VAS joined the PEL after losing its sole seat in the EP elections that June, recognizing that the PEL could help both maintain its foothold in Europe and defuse the EU as a intra-party issue – the PEL being sufficiently pro-integrationist to reassure the party’s pro-Europeans, and sufficiently anti-neoliberal and ‘communist’ to satisfy the ‘old guard’ (Dunphy 2009). However, the real state of the radical left’s pan-European integration was shown in a poor light in the June 2009 EP elections. The drop in RLPs’ votes and seat share in the EP (see Table 7.2), alongside a poor performance for the PES was

Transnational party organizations

165

widely portrayed as a victory for the right in an economic crisis that was expected to boost the left (e.g. Euractiv 2009). This is a considerable simplification, not least because EP elections have traditionally reflected parochial national concerns, making it difficult to extrapolate pan-European lessons. Moreover, several RLPs (AKEL, LP, PCF, SP, SYN, PCP and Bloco) actually increased their votes, with the Irish and Latvian Socialists gaining their MEPs as a direct result of economic travails. Nevertheless, the relative success for the centre- and radical right appears to support Andrew Gamble’s contention (2009: 112) that better articulation of identity concerns means that the right benefits most when economic crisis increases voters’ need for ‘reassurance rather than radicalism’. This tendency was particularly accentuated when key European centre-right leaders such as Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel criticized neo-liberalism and spearheaded proposals for greater market regulation. Furthermore, the radical right and Greens proved better overall at exploiting protest sentiments. The Greens in particular (with their vote share up two to 7.5 per cent) appeared able to articulate a ‘progressive’ protest vote. RLPs struggled to deal with the co-option of their agenda and to offer a proactive vision – ‘Nobody votes for you just because you’ve known things from the start’, noted Bisky (2009). Overall, RLPs’ increasingly EU-focussed transnational activity and policy convergence can be seen as cardinal examples of ‘Europeanization’ – the effect of European integration on party institutions and policies (see Ladrech 2009). The PEL shares some of the enduring weaknesses of more established TNPs – above all that, however co-ordinated and consolidated, they simply cannot directly ensure electoral success for member parties at nationally focussed EP elections. In addition, the PEL and GUE/NGL’s preference for members’ autonomy and flexibility (though beginning to be addressed) further hinders the coherent EU-level policies and electoral approaches that they aspire to. Nevertheless, from a historical perspective, the level of truly voluntary international radical left cooperation now achieved is impressive.

Conclusion In the 1990s, that the radical left ‘party family’ had died alongside any coherent international communist movement was virtually an uncontested ‘fact’ (cf. Bull 1994). Since then, developing international links (particularly those centred on the EU) have gone some way towards reversing this and producing a European radical left with a broadly common outlook that signifies a far more coherent party family. The PEL and GUE/NGL’s Europeanization is reflected in that its core protagonists now share a selective integrationist or even critical pro-integrationist position – that is, they increasingly aspire to greater transnational integration via the EU instititutions in order to contest ‘neo-liberal’ capitalism from within, and advocate state intervention, environmentalism, feminism and minority rights that amount to broadly democratic socialist positions. Moreover, the PEL and GUE/NGL are increasingly visible internationally. The anti-integrationist, nonaccommodationist and staunch anti-capitalist positions of the left’s more extreme

166

Transnational party organizations

and more Euro-rejectionist members find less articulation. In the process, barriers between parties from formerly hostile ideological transitions have become more permeable, and historical grievances between Eurocommunists and Stalinists, Maoists and Trotskyists have significantly weakened. Nevertheless, there are still clear ideological obstacles to greater cohesion: historical suspicions of communists helped the ex-Trotskyist EACL and democratic socialist NGLA reject the PEL. Conversely the PEL’s anti-Stalinism is anathema to the conservative communists (PCP, KKE, elements in the KSČM, let alone the KPRF and KPU, who pay the PEL little attention) who remain among Europe’s biggest parties. Moreover, the PEL’s increasing pro-integrationism is troublesome, not just to the conservative communists but also the more selectively integrationist and Comintern-averse Nordic and Dutch parties. However, arguably (the conservative communists excepted) ideological-strategic differences are no longer significantly greater than those within other party families (for example between ‘third way’ and traditional social democrats, neo-liberals and social liberals). Overall however, this ‘international’ party family’s transnational activity and organization still lag behind the other main party families. Although GUE/NGL and the PEL have belatedly begun to play dominant roles in overcoming the disintegration and national isolationism of the early 1990s, their internal divisions, decentralization, and dependence on a large number of nationally irrelevant microparties indicate that their ability to provide an effective left-wing alternative on an EU level, let alone further East, still remains doubtful.

8

Parties and the wider movement

I focus here on two aspects of party activity so far referred to only in passing: non-party organizations and subcultures – forms of extra-parliamentary politics that have traditionally been major arenas for RLPs (cf. Minkenberg 2003; Mudde 2005). By ‘non-party’ organizations is meant formally independent groups that do not compete for office but which identify with and help mobilize the broader social movement, and over which RLPs attempt to exercise influence. Their de facto independence varies – ranging from affiliates under near-complete party control (e.g. Communist youth leagues) to nominally independent ‘front’ organizations where party hegemony is weaker and more contested (such as peace groups, anti-Nazi groups and trade unions). ‘Subcultures’ are more loosely organized groupings of non-affiliated individuals and movements (a ‘network of networks’ in Minkenberg’s phrase), whose support and activity nevertheless provides significant mobilization potential for radical parties. In practice, these groups often overlap. It will become clear that RLP activity in these spheres is a microcosm of their already documented problems and opportunities. The decline of the communist mass party has led to the accelerated weakening of a whole ‘social cosmos’ of affiliated organizations. Unsurprisingly then, party links with long-standing affiliates (such as TUs, front organizations and youth groups) are now very much attenuated. However, the broader networks and subcultures associated with new social movements in general and the Global Justice Movement (GJM) in particular offer a reinvigorated radicalism and internationalism that has provoked the most widely realized global challenge to the political establishment. Nevertheless, this new radicalism has as yet been only partially conducive to broadening RLPs’ social support and compensating for the loss of the ‘social cosmos’: first, much of the GJM is infused with an anti-party, anti-political, neoanarchist sentiment. Many elements do not identify themselves as ‘left’ and eschew close cooperation with political parties per se. Second, the political influence of the GJM is to date diffuse and difficult to quantify. While it has clearly reinvigorated radical movements psychologically, its concrete achievements have been less stunning than the accompanying hype often contends.

168

The wider movement

Non-party organizations: the end of the ‘social cosmos’ As we have noted, even in their mid-twentieth-century heyday, communists were working-class parties rather than parties of the working class. Nevertheless, the self-proclaimed status as the ‘vanguard of the proletariat’ was vital in ideological terms, in competition for support with social democrats, and in entrenching communist regional dominance in their ‘red belts’. Traditionally, the West European CPs sought to institutionalize their proclaimed working-class leadership through cultivation of affiliated TUs, such as the Spanish Labour Commissions (CC.OO), or attempts to infiltrate nominally independent TUs through ‘entrism’ (a key strategy of Trotskyists above all). Similarly, the most successful CPs once represented entire ‘counter-societies’ within bourgeois society. For example, the ARCI (Italian Cultural and Recreational Association), had millions of members and affiliates from ARCI-Gay to ARCI-Sport and ARCICacciatore (hunters). It ran the Casa del popolo, typically containing a bar, a cafe, leisure facilities and the PCI party branch.1 Nevertheless, most workers inclined not to revolutionary internationalism but to parochial employment demands best articulated by moderate social democratic parties. Even at their peak, CPs only maintained a leading influence over TUs where social democrats were weak (as in France and Italy). Symptomatically, after the split of the Atlanticist International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) from the Sovietophile World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) at the onset of the Cold War in 1949, the French and Italian General Confederations of Labour (CGT and CGIL) were (by far) the largest pro-communist Western European unions remaining in the WFTU. Strong party links to social organizations were in decline across Western Europe towards the end of the twentieth century as part of the general transformation of ‘mass’ parties encapsulating defined social constituencies into ‘catch-all’ and ‘cartel’ parties with much looser links to civil society (Kirchheimer 1966). Furthermore, TUs in Western Europe suffered acutely from the 1980s onwards under the combined barrage of declining traditional industries, increasing unemployment, and the ideological offensive of neo-liberalism that explicitly sought to reduce labour’s collective rights and privileges.2 The crisis of communist TUs, in terms of falling membership, leadership divisions and decreasing political influence, and the decline of the counter-society became the most visible symptoms of the crisis of West European Communism (Lazar 1988). Only AKEL now maintains the wide range of social, recreational and cultural activities once common to many CPs. There has been little evidence since 1989 to suggest that these trends have substantially reversed. Globally, there has certainly been incipient TU revitalization after the disorientation and marginalization of the 1980s. The weakening of the ‘Washington Consensus’, global networking through such websites as www. labourstart.org, and the emergence of the GJM (see below) with its emphasis on anti-corporatism and anti-capitalism has put new forms of international labour solidarity on the agenda, particularly in the global South where they are most needed

The wider movement

169

(Munck 2002; Lee 2007). Symbolically, in 1996 the ICFTU announced both that globalization was the greatest challenge facing global labour, and that international solidarity was one of labour’s main aims (Munck 2004). To some, this is evidence of a ‘new social-movement unionism’ (e.g. Moody 2005; Mason 2007) whereby unions broaden their focus from wage demands and political bargaining to questions of global justice and increasingly co-ordinate their demonstrations, issues and campaigns with the GJM. In Europe, the 1995 general strike against French Prime Minister Alain Juppé’s welfare reforms was among the first signs of a European labour fight-back against neo-liberalism, while protests at EU summits began to consolidate unionists and activists promoting an alternative ‘social Europe’ (e.g. Mathers 2007). The 2005–6 protests against the EU’s Bolkestein directive marked another high-point in co-ordination between TUs, social movements and political parties (Gajewska 2009). However, the much-fêted union of ‘Teamsters and Turtles’ (trade unionists and environmentalists) said to be emerging after the anti-G8 protests in Seattle in 1999 has yet to consolidate either globally or in Europe. Southern TUs have continued to regard European and North American labour’s concerns with higher labour and environmental standards as mere protectionism (Silver 2003; Munck 2007). An upsurge of labour unrest across Europe in the wake of the post-2008 economic crisis (e.g. in Iceland, France, Latvia and Greece) was, symptomatically, often spontaneous and uncoordinated and its direct effect was difficult to demonstrate. For example, despite general strikes in Greece and Portugal in 2010–1 and labour unrest contributing to the fall of the Irish and Portuguese governments in 2011, there is little evidence of leaders substantially rethinking austerity because of popular protest – arguably because they ‘fear the EU, IMF and market pressures more’ (Phillips 2011: 12). Again symptomatically, the main beneficiaries in Ireland and Portugal appear to be the centre-right. Moreover, labour protest often demonstrated nationalist and protectionist rather than internationalist sentiments (notably the slogan ‘British Jobs for British Workers’ adopted by some UK construction and refinery workers). Moreover, even this partial union revitalization has not directly benefited Western European RLPs. First, where TUs have sought new allies these have tended to be among the more moderate strands of the GJM (such as ATTAC –The Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions to Aid Citizens – for which see below), rather than RLPs themselves. The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), representing 82 National Trade Union Confederations at EU level, has generally supported EU integration and distanced itself from the GJM (Gajewska 2009). Although post-2008 it made increasingly radical statements opposing ‘casino capitalism’ (Monks 2009) and organized a pan-European day of action in September 2010, the ETUC remains a pressure group without much authority over national unions or workers; therefore it is not a force with which employers or governments have to reckon (Sassoon 2010: xvi). Second, communist influence over TUs has continued to decline, even in Southern Europe with its strong syndicalist and reform-revolution traditions (cf. Ebbinghaus and Visser 2000). Whilst some countries (e.g. Greece, Cyprus and

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Portugal) still do have ‘communist’ TUs of reasonable size, the biggest ones (the CGT, CGIL and CC.OO) can no longer be regarded as explicitly communist. They joined the ICTFU’s successor the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), leaving the WFTU as a skeletal organization with most members in the global South. For example in France, although most of the CGT’s national leadership remain PCF members, the formal links are declining, and in 1997 Bernard Thibault became the first CGT general secretary not to hold a leadership position in the PCF. In Italy, although the first two leaders of Rifondazione (Sergio Garavini and Fausto Bertinotti) were CGIL activists, the party no longer has leading positions in either the CGIL or the main cooperative and cultural associations (Bertinotti 2003b). Certainly, this decline is partially offset by the radicalization of some former social democratic TUs. For example, TUs in Norway and Sweden have increasingly supported both the radical and centre-left in search of ‘left–left’ governing coalitions. Sections of the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) and Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) disaffiliated from the UK Labour Party in 2004 and supported the SSP until its split in 2006, while in Germany, TU influence in the formation of the WASG and then Left Party is perhaps the clearest European example, although with the LP’s travails some trade unionists are allegedly returning to the SPD (Berg and Pancur 2011). In France, the extreme left has a growing influence, particularly among unions such as Force ouvrière and Fédération syndicale unitaire. Some RLPs retain a strong rooting in union milieux; for example, the majority of the Finnish Left Alliance’s members are trade-unionists, and approximately one-third of union officials are its members (Dunphy 2007). However, in Eastern Europe the situation confronting unions in general and their links with RLPs in particular is direr still. The general quiescence of organized labour given the depth of socio-economic crisis suffered by nations in ‘transition’ to liberal democratic capitalism is remarkable. There are many reasons (e.g. Crowley and Ost 2001; Martin and Cristescu-Martin 2002): market transition has decimated the sectors of the communist economy where Soviet-era TUs were strongest; the ensuing era of mass-scale privatization and high unemployment was hardly propitious for TU regeneration; despite economic recovery after the 1990s, most of the new private sector remains de-unionized. Initially, the Soviet-era TUs also struggled to overcome their past as ‘transmission belts’ for the directives of the ruling communist party, whereby they represented the interests of labour management more than they did labour itself. Especially in the former USSR, official labour federations (e.g. Russia’s Federation of Independent Trade Unions and the Trade Union Federation of Ukraine) proved attitudinally and organizationally unequipped to defend labour in the capitalist economy. Across Eastern Europe, labour relations were initially managed by quasicorporatist ‘tripartite’ deals between such official labour federations, management and the state (e.g. Dimitrova and Vilrokx 2007). However, these were seen as providing ‘symbolic cover for neo-liberal transformation’ (Ost 2009: 15) and have fallen into disuse. The wider problem for labour is that in the post-communist context where social constituencies are still relatively fluid, ‘class’ consciousness has

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generally been subsumed to identity politics: workers do not believe in unionism, still less a workers’ party (Ost 2005, 2009). Newer, more independent TUs have begun to emerge but generally remain weak and divided, while all unions struggle with public distrust or apathy. Furthermore, TUs have often shunned radical political alliances. In several countries, major TUs (e.g. Solidarity in Poland and Podkrepa in Bulgaria) played leading roles in destroying communist rule and remain anti-socialist, the former even continuing links with parties of the right. Elsewhere, unions cultivate links either with the centre (in Russia and Ukraine) or centre-left (e.g. social democratic successor parties in Poland and Hungary). Most such parties have presided over the transition to capitalism, with its associated reduction of communist-era workers’ rights and privileges, and so their alliances with TUs have forced the latter to acquiesce in their own marginalization. That is not to say that workers’ protest has been irrelevant: miners and teachers have been among the most militant and TU protest even helped remove the Bulgarian (socialist) government in 1997 (Robertson 2004). There have been continued attempts to harness TU protest into a more coherent radical workers’ project. For example, the TU Sierpien 80 (August 80) helped form the (marginal) Polish Labour Party (PPP) in 2001. Yet to date such projects have achieved little more than sporadic, local success (Kowalewski 2006). Other affiliated organizations present a similar story. Traditionally, ‘front’ organizations (officially non-partisan but partially or completely clandestinely controlled by communists) aimed to develop a broader social influence, extend the communist subculture and to demonstrate communists’ ‘vanguard’ role. Most obviously a party satellite were communist youth leagues, which not only aimed to exercise communist hegemony over youth, but inculcated party values in the young and trained the next generation of the communist elite. The withering of these organizations was one of the starkest indications of communist crisis (Lazar 1988). As Chapters 3 and 4 emphasized, CPs still struggle with an accelerating age profile. That the Czech Communist Youth Union has less than 500 members is perhaps an extreme example: Rifondazione’s Giovani Comunisti (Young Communists) and the PCF’s Mouvement Jeunes Communistes de France (Young Communist Movement of France) have even recently boasted over 15,000 members each (compared with just 6,000 for the French Socialist Party’s youth wing). Many other non-communist RLPs have youth wings that are influential among student milieux and visible in the global justice movement (for example, the Dutch SP’s youth wing Rood (Red) is particularly active in campaigns for employment and housing for young people). Nevertheless, given the prevailing political disengagement among European youth, even the biggest RLP youth wings could hardly claim to have more influence than youth wings of other non-left, non-radical parties. Moreover, youth and student milieux are a successful recruiting ground for a plethora of Trotskyist or non-affiliated militant groupuscules, who provide fierce competition for more established RLPs among the young, however tiny they are on a national scale. For example, when the Ungdomshuset (Youth House), the nexus for a

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left-leaning underground ‘scene’ in Copenhagen since the early 1980s, was demolished in March 2007, the activists involved in clashes with police were an array of squatters and ‘autonomous’ groups with few identifiable links to established political parties – these are best seen as part of the ‘new fringe’ outlined below.3 Other classic front organizations for the radical and extreme left have traditionally been peace movements and various anti-fascist organizations, such as the German Association of the Persecuted of the Nazi Regime – League of AntiFascists. More recently, communists (most notably Trotskyists) have worked through anti-racist front organizations, including the pan-European Youth Against Racism and British Anti-Nazi League, as well as anti-globalization organizations such as Globalise Resistance, the UK’s main anti-capitalist umbrella group. They have occasionally gained leading positions – for example, Globalise Resistance is headed by the (Trotskyist) Socialist Workers’ Party, while the head of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in Britain since 2003 has been Kate Hudson, a member of the (marginal) Communist Party of Great Britain. However, in general, the left’s infiltration attempts (most notably within ATTAC France and Germany) have not succeeded either in converting or creating organizations that can act as consistent defenders of RLP interests.

Left subcultures: from ‘new fringe’ to global movement? Since the 1999 ‘Battle of Seattle’, when the summit of the G8 industrialized nations in the capital of Washington State was beset by mass protest, the GJM has occupied centre stage in journalistic and academic attention. For activists, Seattle was a watershed, ‘a sense of possibility, a blast of fresh air’ (Klein 2005: xxv) whose effect was as much psychological as it was political. Another world became possible: the neo-liberal consensus was punctured, protest cultures and radical politics received renewed legitimacy. Further mobilization, such as anti-G8 demonstrations in Genoa in July 2001, which had greater mass support and encountered greater police violence, created a strong sense of momentum. A new radical subculture and social movement was emerging. But how much of this momentum could be sustained, and how much could it impact on the fortunes of RLPs in particular? 1999 was a watershed, but not a beginning. The recent manifestations have their origins originally in the anti-establishment sentiments of 1968 and the heyday of the resulting West European ‘new social movements’ in the 1970s and 1980s. These included a network of groups concerned with ecology, animal rights, peace, women’s rights, and Third World solidarity. Within academia a wave of studies appeared declaring the end of political parties and the reign of new social movements (e.g. Lawson and Merkl 1988). Ultimately though, mainstream Green parties emerged and the new social movements increasingly lost prominence. The current wave of radicalism might be dubbed the ‘new fringe’, a term which encompasses groups which address issues as diverse as animal rights, environmentalism, and ‘anti-globalization’ (Mudde 2002). Like the ‘classic’ new social movements of the past decades, the new fringe is a network of networks. It is a motley

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array of groups and individuals, such as ‘eco-warriors’ (e.g. Earth First!), animal right activists (e.g. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), gay and lesbian activists (e.g. OutRage), anti-fascists (e.g. Anti-Fascist Action), Autonomen (‘Autonomous’ people), and anti-globalists (e.g. Mayday 2000). This new fringe has emerged to fill the vacuum left by the decline of organized opposition to capitalism, especially from Western European TUs (Heartfield 2003). Furthermore, the increasing moderation of the new social movements by the 1980s led to a split between those co-opted by the political establishment and those fundamentally opposed to it. It is in part the alleged ‘betrayal’ of the old moderate(d) social movements that have radicalized others, a minority of whom increasingly resorted to violent actions to further their cause (Wall 1999). In the 1990s, small but well-organized terrorist cells developed both within and outside the broader movement. Groups like the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Earth Liberation Front (ELF) have damaged property and threatened people in name of animal rights and the environment respectively (e.g. Monaghan 1997). Although often rejected by the leaders of the larger movements, such as Earth First! or the more moderate Friends of the Earth, these small terrorist groups can count on sympathy among parts of the wider subculture (Wall 1999). The so-called ‘anti-globalization’ movement has emerged to take centre-stage in the new fringe; indeed it is the only trend to have moved beyond fringe status. Increasing discontent with neo-liberal globalization, free trade and global inequalities provided a common cause for many groups towards the end of the 1990s. Further ideological inspiration appeared with the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in Chiapas, Mexico, which, from 1994 onwards, translated its opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement into armed rebellion and succeeded in declaring Zapatista territory autonomous from the federal government. Zapatista ‘leader’ Subcomandante Marcos has spread his message of empowerment (‘we are all Marcos’), using the Internet to gain international sympathy and support. In the process he has become the Che Guevara of the modern movement (e.g. Kingsnorth 2003; Jordan and Taylor 2004). I prefer the term ‘global justice movement’ because ‘anti-globalization’ is a misnomer, implying that the movement is simply reactively, intransigently opposed to globalization, and this is often used simply to denigrate the movement’s aims (Klein 2005: xv). Although some components are undoubtedly so rejectionist, in general what unites the GJM is not opposition to globalization per se (most activists wonder how a global movement can be opposed to globalization) but an opposition to neo-liberalism and aspiration for alternative forms of globalization (hence the French term alter-mondialisme). The achievability of the GJM’s aims may certainly be doubted, but this is not to say (like several commentators) that they do not have them at all. Indeed, the aim is a world united on principles of inclusion and social justice (e.g. Ashman 2004), and concrete proposals include restrictions on global free trade, reform (if not abolition) of the existing international institutions of economic and political governance (principally the IMF, World Bank, G8 and UN), abolition of third world debt, and increased global environmental and social legislation, although there is obviously vigorous debate on how to achieve this.

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This is not to romanticize the GJM’s achievements, as much of the self-penned literature tends to (e.g. Solnit 2004). Indeed, its concrete achievements are difficult to quantify, beyond its undeniable effect on the political climate and its ability to disconcert, embarrass or worry political elites. On the plus side, the GJM has grown in numbers, organization and influence. Its exploitation of the Internet (through such networking sites as Indymedia – www.indymedia.org) has allowed a whole array of new radical groups of all persuasions to enthuse, cooperate, and organize. For example, Indymedia’s role was apparent in European solidarity demonstrations protesting the demolition of the Ungdomshuset in 2007 and the police shooting of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos in Athens in December 2008, both events which received wide coverage on the site. Demonstrations organized by or influenced by the GJM have expanded exponentially, from the 225,000 coming to Edinburgh to influence the G8 summit in support of the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign in July 2005 to the millions marching against the Iraq war across Europe in February 2003. The movement has gained institutional form through the World Social Forum (WSF), first held in 2001 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The WSF is now an annual event so large that it is held in several countries simultaneously, encompassing thousands of workshops, seminars and rallies, incorporating activists, TU representation, NGOs and charities and initiating several regional subsections (such as the European Social Forum (ESF), first held in Florence in 2002). The WSF and ESF were prime movers in the 2003 anti-Iraq war demonstrations (Walgrave and Rucht 2010). In the process, some key people (including the Filipino analyst Walden Bello, the intellectuals Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky and George Monbiot, and French farmer José Bové) have become the unofficial figureheads of the GJM, although it eschews ‘leaders’ as such. One of the chief organizers of the WSF both globally and in Europe has been the French-founded ATTAC (e.g. Waters 2006). ATTAC’s principal idea, that of the international Tobin tax on speculative foreign exchange transfers, has become increasingly popular. Almost all RLPs now support it, whilst it has gained mainstream support in unexpected places. For example, President Chirac, a third of the French National Assembly and the Belgian parliament endorsed it in the early 2000s, while in 2009, the French and German governments and the UK’s chief financial regulator Lord Turner supported a variant of it as part of post-crisis regulation of the global financial system (although the UK Labour government did only lukewarmly). Nevertheless, the direct impact of the GJM has been so far limited. The momentum in the North appeared to drift after 2003 (Harvey 2007). The 9/11 aftermath made elites wary of the movement, and its activities were ever more prone to meet restrictive legislation or massed ranks of heavily armed police. The anti-war and anti-poverty campaigns in which the movement later participated temporarily reinvigorated it, but arguably to the detriment of its longer-term goals. In particular, the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign illustrated the dangers of celebrity and elite co-optation of the movement’s goals, with the campaign’s tangible achievements very debateable once the media spotlight had waned (Duffy 2005).

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Although the Iraq war’s disastrous outcome vindicated many of its opponents’ predictions, the stark fact was that even the weight of huge demonstrations and popular support could not prevent a rush to a war decided long before (Walgrave and Rucht 2010). Moreover, there have been grass-roots grumblings that the WSF and ESF have become over-complex, fragmented and ineffective (Harvey 2007). The ESF in particular is acknowledged to be in crisis, with declining visibility and participation (just 3,000 in Istanbul in 2010). Whereas it has raised the ‘left political culture of debate’, the ESF has had little sustained social impact (Dellheim 2010). More successful were the ‘No’ campaigns against the EU constitutional/Lisbon treaties in France, the Netherlands and Ireland after 2005, all of which involved significant cooperation between parliamentary, extra-parliamentary parties and social movements, and which succeeded in seriously disquieting EU and national elites. Nevertheless, the Lisbon Treaty was adopted in late 2009 without any significant concessions to supporters of a more ‘social’ Europe. All in all, a decade after Seattle, the greatest achievement the GJM can point to is the co-optation of some key ideas by the political establishment (e.g. greater regulation of the financial system and free trade regime and support for the Tobin tax), a co-optation which has nevertheless weakened its visibility. The GJM has certainly shown that another world is in principle possible, but has not yet been able radically to change the existing one. Moreover, the GJM is not really a global or even pan-European ‘movement’ at all: it has growing potency across the global South, but is nearly absent in authoritarian regimes across Asia and Eurasia. In Europe, its influence has been similarly fractured. Whilst it has become a significant political factor in some countries, like France, Germany and the UK, it hardly exists or is very weak in others where postmaterial trends are feinter and/or civil society is weak (most notably in the East and South of Europe). For instance, ATTAC has a 30,000-plus membership in France alone, but in Russia and Cyprus it numbers in the hundreds. Symptomatically, the most significant outbreaks of civil unrest in Eastern Europe, the so-called ‘coloured revolutions’ in countries such as Serbia (2000) and Ukraine (2004) made no reference to the goals of the GJM and indeed had little ‘global’ content beyond a desire for more open, clean and pro-European politics. This geographical diversity is combined with an ideological amorphousness that prevents the ‘new fringe’ being an optimal ally for RLPs. Indeed, the new fringe is hardly a radical left or even left-wing phenomenon at all. Although many activists do come from left-wing circles, many others are entirely new to politics and do not share traditional left-wing doctrines (Wall 1999). The plethora of programmes espoused by different trends (particularly single-issue groups, animal-rights activists and environmentalists) barely fits traditional left–right schema. What’s more, the nationalism of the radical right and the anti-American and anti-establishment internationalism of extremist Islamic groups such as al-Qaeda potentially puts them at the ideological forefront of the anti-globalization struggle to replace the vacuum vacated by left-wing terrorist groups such as the Red Brigades (e.g. Olsen 1999; Roy 2004). For instance, radical right parties such as the French National Front and

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Dutch Wilders Group were a significant force in the ‘No’ campaigns against the EU constitutional process. Moreover, parties like Respect in Britain, the Danish Red–Green Alliance and the Workers’ Party of Belgium (whose Flanders section made a coalition (RESIST) with the Islamist Arab European League (AEL) for the 2003 federal elections) show that RLPs can increasingly ally with Muslim communities against the policies of the Euro-Atlantic community. However, such trends are only in their infancy. So far the new fringe and radical right have been unable to unite. Mainly, this is because they define themselves as a negation of the other – much of the new fringe is deeply involved in antifa (anti-fascist) activities, while the extreme right has become increasingly focussed on anti-antifa activities. Similarly, the agenda and methods of extreme Islamists are anathema to all but the most extreme leftist and anarchist groups, whilst the ideals of global fair trade, even less animal rights and sexual equality, mean nothing to groups like al-Qaeda. The ideological range of the GJM, while narrower than the ‘new fringe’ as a whole, is still too broad to enable conflict-free relations with RLPs. Certainly, the movement can be seen as left in that its driving themes of social justice, internationalism, anti-neo-liberalism (indeed, often anti-capitalism and anti-imperialism) replicate traditional left themes. Many of its activists and issues descend from (former) Third World organizations (Starr 2000; Green and Griffith 2002). What’s more, participation in the 2003 anti-war protests was strongly correlated with a leftist orientation (Rüdig 2010). However, in general the movement eschews ideological uniformity and revels in representing ‘one no, many yeses’ i.e. variegated oppositions to neo-liberalism without an attempt to foist a single ‘ism’ on its constituent parts (Kingsnorth 2003). This amorphousness is seen as strength even if it means that the movement ‘often can’t express, especially in any coherent and utopian manner, what we are for’ (Milstein 2004: 279). The ‘many yeses’ bridge and ideological spectrum ranges from essentially reformist, anti-corporate social democratic forces (for instance ATTAC, many TUs and NGOs), to revolutionary anti-capitalist Trotskyists and neo-anarchists. In general, the moderate forces have been more influential on the institutionalization of the movement through the World Social Forum, while the radical forces have been more influential on its day-to-day practice and (lack of) ideology. The gulf between moderates and radicals is often unbridgeable, because they have a fundamentally different view of the state. Moderates see the state as a necessary evil through which a more just world order can be constructed through conventional channels of lobbying and demonstrations. However, the most influential radical tendencies see the state as a hierarchical structure of domination that must be destroyed by ‘counter-power’: horizontal, autonomous and pluralist (Reitan 2011). This view is shaped by post-1968 counter-cultural ideals, which are deeply suspicious of traditional power and institutions and which, rather than opposing the dominant culture, try to create an alternative culture outside it (e.g. Jordan and Lent 1999). Contemporary ‘counter-culturalism’ has many intellectual origins, including some ideas of the Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci, who emphasized the role of

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‘cultural, moral and ideological’ hegemony in linking civil society groups against the domination of the bourgeois state (e.g. Forgacs 1999: 194–9). Perhaps most influential though is a neo-anarchism that is strongly influenced by autonomism and so infuses the new fringe with an anti-ideological, anti-Marxist, anti-party and even anti-political sentiment that revels in its leaderlessness, lack of doctrine and opposition to structured political authority (e.g. Carter and Morland 2004). For instance, several influential fringe groups (such as Reclaim the Streets and Earth First!) have developed a ‘DIY culture’ that attempts to organize completely independently of established institutions (McKay 1998), The DiY elements have been dramatically reinforced by the influence of Zapatism. Subcomandante Marcos (himself allegedly an ex-Marxist who experienced first-hand Marxism’s limits in resolving the day-to-day problems of the Chiapas Indians) extols self-organization and has even announced ‘I shit on all the Revolutionary Vanguards’ (quoted in Tormey 2004: 132). Even those new fringe activists who see themselves as leftist may regard RLPs and theorists like Gramsci as representatives of traditional hierarchical power and, as such, reactionary and authoritarian (Lent 2001). The influence of counter-culturalism is well-expressed in the most influential and widely cited theoretical works among the GJM. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s Empire (2000), Multitude (2004) and Commonwealth (2009) argued that imperialism today has assumed non-territorial forms where decisions are taken outside and out of reach of the nation-state at the nexus of global supranational organizations such as the G8, IMF and World Bank. However, the ‘multitude’, an amorphous, non-territorial construct that replaces the proletariat as the agent of social change, can resist Empire by a policy of withdrawal and non-compliance with the structures of dominance. This idea implicitly denigrates the role of established workers’ organizations and political parties in favour of loosely structured, autonomous resistance movements. John Holloway (2005) expresses a similar idea, that the possibility of revolution lies in everyday acts of refusing to engage with capitalist society (he calls it ‘anti-power, or ‘the scream’), not through taking control of the state. Such ideas do wonders for enthusing the GJM with a sense of its own radical potential, but have been heavily criticized for their denigration of strategy, organization and practical politics and an other-worldliness that has so far hindered the GJM from becoming anything like a globally co-ordinated campaign synchronized with more traditional organizations such as TUs and political parties (e.g. Mouffe 2004; Wainwright 2004; Blackledge 2005). Indeed, parties and government officials are officially excluded from the World and European Social Forum’s organization and programme which, from the outset, rejected any notion of forming a global left party (e.g. Bello 2002). This is in part simply to reduce the predatory infiltration of Trotskyist groups but it also reflects the deeper scepticism towards party politics and organization per se. The inherent belief in the diversity of the ‘movement of movements’ consistently prevents institutionalization and is most evident first in the insistence on laissez-faire ‘swarm’ demonstration tactics that eschew coherent strategy and leadership (Harman 2000; Klein 2005) and second, the influence of a violence-prone anarchist vanguard (the Black Bloc), whose

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forte is ‘mindful destruction’ of property but whose aim of provoking the police to massive over-reaction has been very controversial (e.g. Anonymous 2004: 154). This anti-political ethos much complicates relations with RLPs. Whilst some of the more hidebound parties denigrate the GJM (the KKE) or merely pay lipservice to it (the KPRF), most now recognize its mobilization potential – ideological inspiration, party membership and broader social support – and argue that that they can only succeed in opposing neo-liberalism if they co-ordinate actions with the GJM across Europe (e.g. Bertinotti 2003a). Accordingly, RLPs (especially Rifondazione, Synaspismós and the LP, who gained first-hand experience of cooperation with social movements at the Florence ESF in 2002) have sought to become prime movers in the GJM’s actions, such as the 2003 anti-Iraq war protests and above all the Social Forums, although necessarily not directly under official party umbrellas (Rüdig 2010). For example, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (affiliated to the German LP) was one of several radical left think tanks (others included Espaces Marx, France and Transform! Italia) who in 2002 set up the ‘Transform!’ network to co-ordinate dialogue between activists participating in the Social Forums.4 At the 2010 ESF in Istanbul, Transform! organized numerous panels related to themes such as left views of ecology and the ‘Political answer to the social crisis’ (Transform! 2010). The PEL and GUE/NGL have also sent regular delegations to the Social Forums. Ultimately, whatever one says about Lenin, seizing state power was something at which he excelled, and the GJM’s near-wholesale denigration of this aim runs directly counter to RLP leaderships’ increasing orientation towards governmental participation. Moreover, Gramsci expected ‘hegemony’ to be exercised over, not completely outside, the state (Forgacs 1999: 222–9). As we have already seen with the example of Rifondazione, it can prove disastrous for parties to draw too close to movements who instinctively distrust not just the compromises necessary to gain and maintain power, but the very concepts of ‘party’ and ‘state’. Only now are anarchist and autonomist tendencies in the GJM beginning to accept ‘some degree of internal organization and engagement with state power’ (Reitan 2011: 65).

Conclusion The extra-parliamentary sphere indicates only a tenuous recovery of the radical left. Party links with affiliated organizations have suffered barely interrupted decline, and the formal, structured links that communist parties used to enjoy are a distant memory. As far as radical left trade unions still exist within Europe, they have been confronted with near-total political marginalization. Similarly, such radical left unions have microscopic influence in Eastern Europe. Some evidence of international TU revitalization has recently been observable, as well as an incipient rapprochement with RLPs. The more social democratic parties loosen traditional ties to TUs and/or adopt ‘neo-liberal’ policies, and the more RLPs participate in government, the more we might expect individual activists and even TUs to change affiliation. However, for the medium term at least, social

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democratic and centrist parties’ governing prospects make them better lobbying points for union interests, and large-scale reorientation of TUs is unlikely. Similarly, everywhere in Europe other types of communist front organizations have all but disappeared, while attempts at taking over successful progressive organizations (like ATTAC) have not borne fruit. Nevertheless, in radical subcultures, initially also hit hard by the fall of the Berlin Wall, a profusion of ‘new fringe’ groups is emerging and mobilizing, and these have also been the most prominent national and international manifestations of a new ‘radical left’ through the Internet, umbrella movements (the Social Forums) and many ‘anti-globalization’ causes célèbres. However, despite great media attention and impressive mass demonstrations, the GJM is still struggling to coalesce on positive, united appeals and largely (quite deliberately) self-isolated from party politics (including much of the radical left). Accordingly, so far, RLPs have struggled to co-ordinate their actions effectively with the GJM, and still more so to replace the broad social influence that was lost with the decline of communist counter-societies. Although new forms of radicalism are increasingly at an abundance in European societies, the radical left is at best only a partial beneficiary.

9

Explaining electoral success and failure (with Charlotte Rommerskirchen)

In Chapter 2, a framework was outlined for understanding communist parties’ success in the Soviet era, making a basic distinction between demand-side factors (the external socio-economic ‘breeding ground’), external supply-side factors (political-institutional and party system factors) and internal supply-side factors (parties’ own strategies). In general, the key demand-side factors helping CPs were lasting socio-economic and ideological cleavages and political polarization. The key external supply-side factors included CPs’ ability to compete with social democrats for working-class votes, to gain from protest and clientelistic voting and to avoid negative ‘external shocks’ such as prohibition or Moscow’s direct intervention. The most significant internal supply-side factors were parties’ ability to adapt ideology and practice to national and local conditions and avoid debilitating internal splits. Such parties could best manage the contradiction between ‘teleological’ and ‘societal’ imperatives imposed by the USSR. This chapter undertakes a similar exercise for contemporary radical left parties. No contemporary study has explicitly looked at RLPs’ electoral performance comparatively. As noted in Chapter 1, the few recent comparative studies are detailed case studies of party development (with significant empirical and theoretical limitations) rather than truly comparative analyses. There is no a priori reason to assume that identical reasons for success apply today as in the Soviet period, given party and party system change and the absence of the ‘Moscow factor.’ Moreover, this chapter uses quantitative methods in addition to qualitative – the combination of methods is meant to counterbalance the weaknesses and shortcomings inherent within one method with the strength and advantages of another. Additionally, this allows us to draw more explicitly on literature pertaining to anti-establishment and populist parties to identify relevant variables (e.g. Müller-Rommel 1998; Abedi 2004; Norris 2005; Ignazi 2006; Mudde 2007). Whereas the vast bulk of this literature refers to radical right parties (RRPs), there is no reason either to assume that some of the identified factors (e.g. the role of electoral thresholds, cartelization) do not also affect the radical left, albeit differently, simply because they too are usually niche and/or anti-establishment parties. We will find that, actually, there are strong commonalities between communist parties past and radical left parties present. Contemporary RLPs also perform better in a poor economic climate, while strong competitor parties weaken them.

Electoral success and failure 181 Moreover, summarizing the findings of the case studies, we will see that the most successful contemporary parties are also those who have pragmatic and flexible strategies, are internally unified and have skilled, charismatic leaders able to manage external shocks and exploit demand-side opportunities. Nevertheless, today’s context is fundamentally different, providing both opportunities and threats. Opposition to the EU and ‘anti-globalization’ now provides a fundamental issue around which RLPs can mobilize. Moreover, absent Moscow’s dead hand, today’s RLPs have the opportunity for far greater strategic flexibility than the Soviet satellites of the past. Yet, as has been indicated throughout, the competitors are now more than ever not just social democrats but the Greens and radical right.

The dependent variables: quantifying RLP success Quantitative methods are ideal for focussing on large-N cases, particularly where the variables, both independent (such as ‘unemployment’) and dependent (such as ‘electoral success’) are dynamic. Nevertheless, these different methods entail looking now at slightly different cases than in the preceding chapters. For instance, the absence of relevant data entails excluding some countries because of lack of data (e.g. Serbia, Albania, Scotland, although we can use data for the UK). Moreover, in the previous chapters I used a threshold of ‘relevance’ (focussing on parties gaining over 3 per cent of the vote on at least one occasion). Without this threshold, the pan-European view of the book would make analysis highly complex and unwieldy. However, there is no problem with including the maximum possible number of RLPs in a quantitative model, indeed doing so is desirable in an empirical model.1 Moreover, focussing only on RLPs that gained a certain percentage of votes would introduce the problem of selection bias into our investigation. Accordingly, the analysis in this chapter focusses on 37 RLPs in 34 countries from 1990–2008 (see Table 9.1).2 How should our dependent variable (electoral ‘success’) be measured? The study of electoral success is subject to numerous pitfalls. One of the most prominent challenges is the data-censoring problem (see below). Existing studies put forward different measurements of electoral success of various party types, depending on their focus of analysis and data availability. For example, Mudde (2007: 208), albeit not using quantitative methods, proposes a triadic definition of radical right electoral success defined as unsuccessful (5 per cent), Golder (2003) takes the percentage of national electoral support, Mattila and Raunio (2004) record electoral success as being in government and Maeda (2010) uses the change in vote share. In this chapter, we measure electoral success in two ways: first as the aggregate of the total percentage of votes gained by all RLPs represented in the legislature (LEGA); second as the total percentage of votes gained by the electorally strongest RLP represented in the legislature (LEGST). Since there are seven countries with more than one RLP represented simultaneously in the legislature (Denmark, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Switzerland, Ukraine) this allows us a broader, more accurate perspective on RLP success. Furthermore, by looking at

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Table 9.1 Countries and parties examined Austria Belgium Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Moldova Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Russia Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Ukraine UK

n/a n/a n/a n/a Progressive Party of the Working People (AKEL) Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) Socialist Peoples Party, (SF), Red–Green Alliance (EL) n/a Left Alliance (VAS) Communist Party (PCF) Left Party (LP) Communist Party (KKE), Coalition of the Left (SYN/SYRIZA), Democratic Social Movement (DIKKI) n/a Left-Green Movement (RG) Democratic Left (DL), Socialist Party (SP) Party of Communist Refoundation (PRC), Party of Italian Communists (PdCI) Socialist Party of Latvia (LSP) Latvian Unity Party (LVP) n/a Communist Party (KPL), The Left (LÉNK) n/a Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM), Electoral Bloc Fatherland (BePR) Socialist Party (SP) Socialist Left Party (SV) n/a Communist Party (PCP), Left Bloc (BE) Socialist Party of Labour (PSM) Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) Association of Slovak Workers (ZRS), Communist Party of Slovakia (KSS) n/a United Left/Communist Party of Spain (IU/PCE) Left Party (V) Labour Party of Switzerland (PdA), Solidarities (S) Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU) (1990s only) Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine (PSPU) Respect

percentage of votes gained we understand RLP success to be a nuanced phenomenon which, in order to avoid unnecessary simplification, is preferably not treated as a binary or categorical outcome. We did not use the change of vote share as many RLPs emerged or reorganized during the time-span of our analysis (particularly in the former Communist countries). One issue with our dependent variables is that they are observed only at certain intervals in our sample – in 41 per cent of the cases there is no vote share for RLPs recorded. In other words, our sample is a mixture of observations with zero and positive values. It is furthermore left-censored at zero because it cannot

Electoral success and failure 183 be observed in those countries without an organized RLP or where the RLP did not gain sufficient votes to gain seats in the legislature. One possibility would be to work with a logit/probit model where the binary regressand takes the value 1 if a RLP is represented in parliament and 0 if it is not. Yet this strategy is unable to retain the variation in its uncensored component. Particularly given the scope of variation in the dependent variable, ranging from 0 to 51, a logit/probit model is not desirable and would address another question entirely: what are the determinants of legislative representation vs. what determines the degrees of electoral success of RLPs? It would be equally misleading to code the electoral support of these parties as zero employing a simple ordinary least squares (OLS) model, since it assumes that the dependent variables such as unemployment and electoral system had no effect on RLP support in these countries and since it ignores radical left support in countries without an electorally organized RLP. Yet it is fairly safe to assume that potential electoral support for RLP parties exists in every country. In our case zero electoral support can be interpreted as a left-censored variable that equals zero when y * ≤ L. Following Jackman and Volpert (1996) we employ a tobit model that utilizes a maximum likelihood estimator for censored variables in our analysis. The thus estimated coefficients represent the marginal effect of the regressors on the underlying electoral support for RLPs. We run the tobit regression with two dependent variables; LEGA, and LEGST. We concur with Arzheimer and Carter (2006: 428) that there is no strong theoretical argument as to why exogenous (‘demand-’ and ‘external supply-side’) explanations for party success should vary over countries and across time. Particularly given that we control for various country and year specific features in addition to clustering our analysis on countries, we refrain from adding country dummies. The complete model specification reads as follows (the independent variables are presented in the next section): LEGA(LEGST) = β0 + β1LLEG + β2UNEM + β3GDP + β4FEDR + β5THRE + β7PROP +β7SU + β8OPP + β9PAGE + β10YEOF + β11EXECR + β12EXECL + β13RAGR + β14VOTUR + β15ANTIEU + ε

Determinants of RLP success In the ensuing sections we will use the aforementioned demand- and supply-side factors to analyse different elements of the political opportunity structure affecting RLPs. Necessarily, our quantitative analysis will focus most on external factors (demand-side and external supply-side) and not internal supply-side factors. Table 9.2 Summary of dependent variables Variable

Obs

Mean

Std. Dev.

Min

Max

LEGA LEGST

180 180

6.69 6.25

9.05 8.74

0 0

50.1 50.1

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Parties’ internal life simply ‘is extremely difficult to study’ (Mudde 2007: 267). Parties are secretive organizations and the relevant membership and organizational data are regularly missing or inaccessible. Moreover, the predominance of informal power relations within parties make potentially useful concepts like ‘leadership’, ‘charisma’ and ‘factionalism’ extremely difficult to operationalize for quantitative analysis, and makes in-depth qualitative comparison a better method for internal supply-side factors. For instance comparative studies examining the impact of leadership and internal party organization in RRPs rely heavily on qualitative case studies or anecdotal evidence that is difficult to generalize satisfactorily, despite a logical assumption that charismatic leaders and united organizations are important for party success (e.g. Norris 2005; Carter 2005). Accordingly, having analysed the quantitative results, the final section of this chapter will summarize key internal factors affecting party success, drawing on the empirical evidence presented throughout this book.

Demand-side We have already mentioned the prevalent view that a driving factor behind the success of the radical right and other new niche parties is the ‘modernization crisis’. To some, this ‘modernization crisis’ is translated into direct support for antiestablishment political parties by the emergence of new cleavages or the modification of old cleavages (Betz 1994; Kitschelt and McGann 1995; Minkenberg 2000). In particular, following Inglehart’s transformation theory (1971, 1977), which posits the transcendence of class position by post-materialist politics, the rise of Green parties from the 1980s (which were initially anti-establishment) is traced to the espousal of new post-materialist issue cleavages by ‘new politics’ parties, whilst the emergence of the new populist radical right is similarly traced to parties fusing the anti-politics stance of the new politics with more traditional right-wing themes in protest against the crises of the post-war settlement (Taggart 1995). Where RLPs might fit into this schema, and whether they also represent a new issue cleavage is unclear. On one hand, many are obviously not new parties – a number of conservative CPs like the Ukrainian KPU and Greek KKE have an ‘old left’ Marxist-Leninist ideological core and a 90-year prehistory. On the other, many parties such as the Danish SF and Portuguese Bloco openly espouse ‘new left’ issues such as environmentalism and feminism. Accordingly, we aimed to measure RLPs’ relationship to the materialist/postmaterialist orientation. This can be done most simply, albeit roughly, by correlating party success with voter values using the so-called Inglehart-index used in the World Values Survey (WVS) and Eurobarometer series. We excluded Eurobarometer data, since several countries are entirely missing and the questionnaire has changed so that longitudinal comparison is no longer meaningful. However, relying on WVS data (the surveys from 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2005 available on http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/index_surveys) offers the advantage that all countries are included over a large time-span. The Inglehart-index asks respondents: ‘If you had to choose among the following things, which are the

Electoral success and failure 185 two that seem the most desirable to you?’ The four choices are a) ‘Maintaining order in the nation’, b) ‘Giving people more say in important political decisions’, c) ‘Fighting rising prices’ and d) ‘Protecting freedom of speech’. Respondents choosing items a) and c) espouse acquisitive/materialist values reflecting physical or economic insecurity. Those choosing b) and d) have a post-materialist valueorientation. Those choosing both materialist and post-materialist items are labelled ‘mixed’ (Inglehart 1971, 1997: 994). Using the WVS specification for the 1990–2005 surveys, we constructed the variable MAT to measure the percentage of ‘materialist’ respondents, and the variable PMAT for the percentage of respondents classified as ‘post-material’. To account for the strength of the post-material/material cleavage, the variable CLEAV measures the difference between the post-material and material percentage – we would presume that a strong cleavage would reflect the ‘modernization crisis’ and so CLEAV would have a positive effect on the electoral fortunes of RLPs. Unfortunately, with the data being available only every five years, we were left with too few observations (n = 90) to include these variables in our tobit model. Thus a simple correlation was used to confirm that MAT is negatively correlated with a RLP being both in the executive or the legislature, PMAT and CLEAV both positively so (Table 9.3). Participation in the executive, EX, is a simply dummy taking the value 1 if a RLP is part of the government and 0 otherwise, participation in the legislature, LEG, takes the value 1 if a RLP is part of the legislature and 0 otherwise. It is plausible that the correlation results are much stronger and notably significant for RLP participation in the legislature than for RLP participation in the executive. For participation in the executive we have only 12 observations (and 78 observations of non-participation), whereas participation in the legislature scored 54 observations (and 36 observations of non-participation). What is more, being a member of the government arguably depends on different factors from partaking in the legislature that have little direct relationship with electoral cleavages (e.g. coalition negotiations). Nevertheless, Table 9.3 does indicate a) that RLP success is indeed positively related to the modernization crisis, and b) that like the Greens, RLPs now articulate post-materialist issues rather than ‘old left’ Marxist class sentiments. Table 9.3 MAT and POSTMAT issue preference and the electoral success of RLPs POSTMAT MAT CLEAVAGE N

EX

LEG

0.09 –0.075 0.08 90

0.32** –0.27** 0.30** 90

Source: Data from World Value Survey 1990–2005. Notes * Significant at the 10 % level ** at the 5 % level *** at the 1 % level.

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The issue of popular support for the European Union (EU) is another salient new issue area that we would expect to interact with the electoral fortunes of RLPs, since they are (broadly speaking) ‘Eurosceptic’ and seek ‘to change the foundations of the European Union (EU), and to open a new perspective for Europe’ (PEL 2009b). Certainly, we have found that in some contexts (e.g. the Nordic countries) RLPs have used opposition to the ‘really existing’ EU as a key identity marker, especially vis-à-vis the social democrats, as indeed do other niche parties seeking to distinguish themselves from ‘establishment’ parties (Taggart 1998). There is disagreement over whether niche parties on the left or right most benefit from opposition to the EU. Hooghe et al. (2002) find that as individuals shift to the right, there is more support for the EU. Conversely, De Vries and Edwards (2009) show that Euroscepticism resonates both with the electorates of rightwing ‘extremist’ and left-wing ‘extremist’ parties. The former oppose European integration by defending national sovereignty and successfully mobilize national identity considerations against the EU; the latter resist integration on the basis of the neo-liberal character of the project and effectively cue voters against the EU on the basis of economic insecurity arguments. We suspect that support for EU membership captures more than meets the eye. The vast majority of EU policies have a market-making bias. Indeed, the common complaints against ‘market power Europe’ (Damro 2010), be it for posing a cosmopolitan threat to national identity, for favouring market integration over market regulation, or for bringing an end to the traditional welfare state, are also widespread charges brought against the ‘embedded neo-liberalism’ of globalization more generally, including by RLPs (van Apeldoorn 2001). Arguably, then, what might be dubbed ‘globalization anxiety’ and Euroscepticism are highly endogenous: an unfavourable evaluation of the EU might on one hand lead individuals to be sceptical of the benign consequences of globalization; on the other hand could anti-globalization sentiment be the precursor of anti-EU stances? This endogeneity of Euroscepticism and globalization anxiety hampers an investigation into the relationship of both sentiments and poses a fundamental challenge for empirical evaluation.3 Nevertheless, it is possible to make inferences as to the correlation of EU membership and globalization support by relying on tetrachoric correlation. The data we use to evaluate the relationship between a host of measurements for globalization anxiety and EU membership stems from an individual level Eurobarometer (72.4) on standard trends and attitudes towards the EU in 2009. Using 2009 data has the advantage of including the largest country sample (27 EU member states) so far available in the context of Eurobarometer surveys. Table 9.4 shows the partial correlation between support for EU membership and three indicators for globalization anxiety. Opposition to EU membership is measured by the variable ANTIEU, taking value 1 if respondents considered EU membership a bad thing and 0 otherwise. GLOBTHREAT is a dummy taking the value 1 if respondents agreed or totally agreed that globalization is a threat to employment and companies and 0 otherwise. GLOBCOMPANIES takes the value 1 and 0 otherwise if respondents agreed or totally agreed globalization is considered to be profitable only for large companies, not citizens. GLOBGROWTH

Electoral success and failure 187 Table 9.4 EU membership opposition and globalization anxiety (partial correlations) GLOBTHREAT GLOBCOMPANIES GLOBGROWTH N

EU27

Eastern European

Eurozone

0.44*** 0.24*** 0.37*** 22384

0.48*** 0.23*** 0.35*** 10311

0.41 *** 0.22*** 0.37*** 11682

Source: Eurobarometer 72.4, available at gesis.org. Notes GLOBTHREAT = Globalization considered to be a threat to employment and companies GLOBCOMPANIES = Globalization considered to be profitable only for large companies, not for citizens GLOBGROWTH = Globalization is not considered an opportunity for economic growth EU27 = all 27 EU member states * Significant at the 10 % level ** at the 5 % level *** at the 1 % level Tetrachoric correlation coefficient.

takes the value 1 if respondents did not agree or did not agree at all that globalization is an opportunity for economic growth and 0 otherwise. For all three measurements, the relationship between globalization anxiety and opposition to EU membership is positive and the coefficients are highly significant – this strongly suggests that EU membership sentiment and globalization opposition are highly correlated. To provide more context on anti-EU sentiment we use a measurement for the political affiliation of respondents found in the same Eurobarometer. Specifically, respondents were asked the following question: ‘In political matters people talk of “the left” and “the right”. How would you place your views on this scale?’ The scale ranged from 1 (radical left) to 10 (radical right). The variables ‘radical left’ and ‘radical right’ take the value 1 if the respondent places him/herself at 1 and 10 respectively. Interestingly, only the ‘radical left’ placement of the respondents (not ‘radical right’!) is positively linked to EU membership opposition (r = 0.1), whereas ‘radical right’ is negative and not significant. This micro-level view confirms our suspicion that individuals on the radical left spectrum are hostile towards the EU and gives further reason to suppose that high EU hostility in the population is likely to be associated with higher electoral success for RLPs. To empirically test the latter we include the variable ANTIEU (based on various issues of the Standard as well as the Central and Eastern European Eurobarometer) in our tobit regression. This variable takes the lagged percentage of respondents in a country who considered EU membership a bad thing. The lag is taken in order to avoid endogeneity since the electoral success of RLPs could in turn impact on EU hostility. Next, we construct a measure of EU hostility with the residuals from a regression of ANTIEU on the duration of EU membership in years (ranging from 51 to 0), the actual unemployment rate, and whether a right or a left party is in government. In this way, we seek to capture anti-EU sentiment purged from ‘economic and political noises’.4

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The final demand-side factor is perhaps the most obvious. As noted in Chapter 2, we would expect that RLPs’ emphases on economic and job-security issues might find resonance in countries with poorer socio-economic conditions. We use two variables (GDP and UNEM) to control for the macro-economic climate. The first variable indicates the annual percentage change of GDP and is a conventional indicator for the general performance of the economy. The second variable measures the annual percentage unemployment rate. We expect RLPs to perform better in environments of falling GDP and rising unemployment, above all the latter, as this is a politically more sensitive issue (cf. Fidrmuc 2000; Bohrer and Tan 2000). External supply-side Again as noted in Chapter 2, the literature leads us to expect a positive relationship between the ‘permissiveness’ of electoral institutions and the electoral success of RLPs (the evidence from the empirical study of CPs was somewhat ambiguous, but generally supportive). It was noted that (unlike the Soviet-era CPs), most contemporary RLPs have not been banned outright. Therefore the most relevant electoral system factor is likely to be the threshold of representation. Existing literature disputes the threshold’s role. For instance, Lijphart and Gibberd (1977) found only mixed evidence of any positive relationship between the threshold and the rise of new parties, while Hug (2000) finds no significant relationship. Conversely, in their cross-national analysis Harmel and Robertson (1985) suggest that the size of the threshold has significant impact. The restrictive British plurality system does appear to indicate that electoral systems matter (cf. Eatwell 2000), while the large number of small RLPs in each country leads us to expect that the size of threshold will matter also. Therefore we use the dummy THRESH taking the value 1 if a party must obtain a minimum 3 per cent vote share in order to take at least one seat in a proportional representation system. Second, we include the variable PROP, taking the value 1 if candidates are elected based on the percent of votes received by their party. According to Duverger’s much-cited hypothesis (1951), proportional representation favours multipartism. Accordingly we would expect this variable to impact positively on RLPs’ success. A third external supply-side variable pertains to elements of federalism or devolution. Again, the evidence from Soviet-era CPs was ambiguous, but the literature argues that federalism should help anti-establishment parties develop from local to national level (Müller-Rommel 1998). Accordingly, the variable FEDERALISM controls for this effect. It takes the value 1 if state/province governments are locally elected. If there are multiple levels of sub-national government, we consider the highest level as the ‘state/province’ level. Indirectly elected state/ province governments, where directly elected municipal bodies elect the state/ province level, are not considered locally elected. Indirectly elected state/province governments elected by directly elected state/province bodies are considered locally elected. We assume this variable to have a positive impact on RLPs’ electoral success.

Electoral success and failure 189 The dummy, EXCOM, taking the value 1 for members of former communist states aims to capture potential differences between Eastern and Western Europe, especially the relative societal anchorage of communist thought in the former. Obviously, preceding chapters have examined this in far more detail. Drawing on the ‘successor party’ literature (e.g. Ishiyama 1995; Kitschelt et al. 1999; Grzymała-Busse 2002), they have suggested that, although the communist legacy is highly contentious in many former communist states, the political resources derived from former communist parties (organizational, personnel, financial, and even ideological) generally help RLP electoral success there. The dummy LLEG controls for the presumably positive effect of previously successful RLPs; it takes the value 1 if a RLP has been in the previous legislature and 0 otherwise. This variable measures the autoregressive process of voting. We suspect this variable to be highly significant as it is a testimony of the past success of the party’s own electoral strategy and its interaction with the party system. Given that RLPs are political parties above all, the key supply-side context is competition within the party system (cf. Mudde 2007: 237). This competition matters both horizontally (RLPs’ relationship to direct competitors for their electorate) and vertically (their relationship as niche parties to more established and governing parties). Accordingly, we measure competition effects exerted by the Greens and RRPs. The variable COMPETITION takes the value 1 if a Green party and/or a RRP was represented in the previous legislature and 0 otherwise. The lagged legislature was used to circumvent the endogeneity problem. We will furthermore test the difference between the competition effects exerted by Green and RRPs separately by including dummies measuring their previous electoral successes individually. It is clear from the analysis throughout this book why Greens and RRPs are major competitors for the radical left: Green parties remain strong rivals among the white-collar electorate, while the radical right’s ‘welfare chauvinism’ tends to appeal to blue-collar protest voters. It should be noted that the competition effects work both ways; just as existing Green parties or RRPs can potentially crowd out RLPs (e.g. the radical right Freedom Party of Austria and the Green Alternative in Austria), existing RLPs can crowd out Green parties (as noted with the SF in Denmark). However, the most direct competitors for RLPs are arguably social democratic parties: the ‘vacuum thesis’ certainly argues that ‘neo-liberal’ third way social democrats have opened up a large political space for RLPs. This argument echoes the literature on the radical right, which has long argued that anti-establishment parties benefit from the ideological convergence of the mainstream parties (most evident in increasing left–right policy consensus and ‘grand coalitions’) (e.g. Abedi 2004: 205; Mudde 2007). We have seen how several RLP breakthroughs (e.g. the German LP in 2005 and 2009 and the Dutch SP in 2006) have largely occurred at the expense of ‘neo-liberal’ social democratic parties. However, the extent to which a rightwards movement of social democracy actually helps RLPs more generally proved too complex for us to measure quantitatively.5 Clearly, parties’ ability to mobilize against the incumbent government’s policies will affect their success. One way of analysing the effect of social democratic

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parties is to control for partisanship of the executive in power with respect to economic policy (traditionally an issue of major interest to RLPs). EXECL is a dummy taking the value 1 if the outgoing government is defined as left wing (communist, socialist, social democratic) and 0 otherwise. EXECR is a dummy taking the value 1 if the outgoing government is defined as right wing (conservative, Christian democratic etc.) and 0 otherwise. Executive parties that are defined as centrist are taken as the base group. Given the aforementioned ambiguous relationship between social democratic and RLP success, the role of these coefficients does not suggest an obvious hypothesis and therefore we could envisage explanations for both a negative and a positive impact of both variables. For example, a negative coefficient of EXECL (negative relationship between left-wing executive and RLP success) could indicate that an established centre-left party successfully competed for votes from the RLP. A positive coefficient of EXECL could bespeak a drift from centre-left voters to radical left voters. A positive coefficient of EXECR could indicate that RLP voters express themselves as a protest vote against an incumbent right-wing government. A negative coefficient of EXECR could indicate that other parties gained these protest votes (including social democrats who, as in Italy in 2008, appealed for a ‘useful vote’ against the right) or even that strong right-wing values affected electoral choices and diminished the protest appeal of the radical left. We include three variables to capture the party landscape. First, OPPOSITION indicates the probability that two deputies picked at random from among the opposition parties will be of different parties. The higher this score the more fragmented the political landscape – which would potentially interact positively with the electoral success of RLP by giving them greater electoral, publicity and coalition options than if the political landscape was consolidated around 2–3 parliamentary parties. Second, the number of years the chief executive has been in office, YEAROFFICE, will be taken as a proxy for the monopoly potential of a country’s government. This variable gives a good indicator for the turnover rate of the political system. The higher the turnover rate, the less likely is cartelization (the alleged propensity of key political actors to monopolize party competition and exclude political challengers). As with ideological convergence, the literature on RRPs argues that cartelization increases the propensity to anti-establishment (particularly populist) resentment and mobilization aiming to ‘break the mould’ of politics, which would also potentially benefit the electoral prospects of RLPs (e.g. Katz and Mair 1995; Kitschelt and McGann 1995). Third, in a similar vein the variable AGE measures the party dynamics of the legislature by taking the average age of the first government party, the second government party and the first opposition party. In contrast to YEAROFFICE, this variable captures not only the position of the governing party, but also the degree to which other parties in parliament are long established. The lower the variable AGE is, the more open the system for new parties. As many RLPs are relatively recent additions to the national party families, this variable is thought to have a negative impact on the electoral chances of RLPs.

Electoral success and failure 191 We introduce the variable, VOTURNOUT, which measures the percentage change of the total voter turnout. Some evidence (e.g. White and McAllister 2007) suggests that low turnout benefits successor parties in Eastern Europe, since their electorate is more disciplined, party local and stable (albeit not all successor parties are RLPs). Conversely, a number of authors (e.g. Radcliff 1994; Pacek and Radcliff 2003) argue that increased turnout benefits left parties in Europe and the US alike, since ‘lower-status’ citizens who form their traditional core votes tend to vote at lower rates and less consistently than higher-status counterparts. Increased turnout therefore primarily involves increases in turnout among leftleaning, ‘lower status’ voters. RLPs certainly claim to appeal to the excluded and marginalized. Thus we presume the variable, VOTURNOUT, to be positively related to the electoral fortunes of RLPs. Table 9.5 gives an overview of all independent variables and our hypothesized relationship to the dependent variable (party success).

External factors and electoral success Empirical results using both LEGA and LEGST as dependent variable are presented in Table 9.6. Already at first glance the variable LLEG can be identified as the most crucial factor in explaining a RLP’s electoral success. If a RLP has been in parliament in the previous inter-election period, it receives 22 per cent more votes more than if it was absent. What is more, this variable alone accounts for 10 per cent (R2 = 10.02 and 10.03 respectively) of the variation of the dependent variable. This evidence for a strong autoregressive dynamic of electoral fortunes hardly comes as a surprise: a place in parliament grants any party greater visibility and resources – a platform for further development. For instance, there are numerous examples of RLPs making ‘credibility breakthroughs’ into parliament and then improving their vote dramatically at the following election, such as the Scottish Socialist Party in 1999–2003, the Dutch SP in 1994–8 and the Moldovan PCRM in 1998–2001. This indicates that once a RLP has established electoral favour it is likely to keep its position, although it requires good leadership to ensure this, as the dissolution of the SSP in 2006 most clearly indicates. Interestingly, it is this past legislative success that is decisive, not whether or not a RLP has been in the previous government. A corresponding dummy, LEX (taking the value 1 if a RLP has been in government and 0 otherwise) is not significant at any of the conventional levels. Although in almost 14 per cent of our observations RLPs participated in government, this has no bearing on their legislative success as already a weak correlation of LEGA/LEGST with the before mentioned dummy LEX reveals (r (179) = 0.063 and 0.065 respectively). This is a corroboration of Bale and Dunphy’s findings (2011) that in most cases, RLPs are small coalition partners who have struggled to demonstrate positive governing achievements to their supporters. Progressing down the table, we see that, as expected, the variable ANTIEU demonstrates that EU opposition indeed has a positive effect on the electoral success of RLPs. A 10 per cent increase in anti-EU sentiment will lead to a 9 per cent

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Table 9.5 Summary of independent variables Variable

Data source

Hypothesized relationship to RLP success

ANTIEU

Lagged % of population against EU membership, stripped of the effect of duration of EU membership in years (ranging from 51 to 0), the actual unemployment rate, and whether a right or a left party is in government; Eurobarometer (Annual Issues, 1989–2009) Annual % increase in GDP; OECD Economic Outlook (1989–2008) Annual % of total unemployment, OECD Economic Outlook (1989–2008) 1 if a party must obtain a minimum of 3% vote share in order to take at least one seat in a proportional representation system, 0 otherwise; based on Beck et al. 2001 1 if candidates are elected based on the percent of votes received by their party; Beck et al. 2001 1 if state/province governments are locally elected, 0 otherwise. If there are multiple levels of sub–national government, we consider the highest level as the ‘state/province’ level; Beck et al. 2001 1 if country was member of Soviet Union, 0 otherwise 1 if a green party or/and a radical right party was represented in the previous legislature, 0 otherwise; authors’ calculations derived from www. parties–and–elections.de 1 if a RLP was represented in the previous legislature and 0 otherwise; authors’ calculations derived from www.parties–and–elections.de 1 if a left–wing government was previously in government, 0 otherwise; Beck et al. 2001 1 if a right–wing party was previously in government, 0 otherwise; Beck et al. 2001 Probability that two deputies picked at random from among the opposition parties will be of different parties; Beck et al. 2001 Number of years the chief executive has been in office; Beck et al. 2001 Average age of the 1st government party, the 2nd government party and the 1st opposition party; Beck et al. 2001 % change of the total voter turnout, www.idea.int

+

GDP UNEM THRESH

PROP FEDERALISM

EXCOM COMPETITION

LLEG EXECL EXECR OPPOSITION YEAROFFICE AGE VOTURNOUT

– + –

+ +

+ –

+ – + + + – +

increase in RLPs’ votes. This further corroborates that opposition to the EU has become a significant identity marker for the radical left and that RLPs are significant beneficiaries of globalization anxiety and the ‘modernization crisis’. Also as expected, the results of the most crucial economic variable analysed (the annual

Electoral success and failure 193 Table 9.6 External determinants of RLP electoral success Regressand Regressor

LEGA

ANTIEU GDP UNEM THRESH

0.79** –0.1 0.72** –7.82** (1.94) –5.7 –1.36 9.6** –3.1* 22.14*** –3.93 0.92 0.02** 0.05 –0.06 0.3* –36** 0.18 –285.22 128 77

PROP FEDERALISM EXCOM COMPETITION LLEG EXECL EXECR OPPOSITION YEAROFFICE AGE VOTURNOUT Constant Pseudo R2 Log likelihood N Noncensored

LEGST (0.32) (0.32) (0.32) –7.71** (3.58) (1.94) (4.12) (1.78) (4.56) (2.67) (1.6) (0.01) (0.19) (0.04) (0.16) (–13.76)

0.9** 0.02 0.70** (3.11) –6.64* –1.47 11*** –2.86* 22.2*** –3.62 1.42 0.01* 0.12 –0.06 0.3* –38.75*** 0.18 –283.95 128 77

(0.38) (0.32) (0.32) (0.07) (2.10) (4.14) (1.68) (4.74) (2.74) (1.48) (0.01) (0.19) (0.04) (0.17) (13.9)

Notes Tobit regression, columns show coefficients with their standard errors in parentheses * Significant at the 10 % level ** at the 5 % level *** at the 1 % level

unemployment rate) is positive and significant. More than 10 per cent unemployment leads to a 7 per cent increase in RLPs’ vote share. Furthermore, 17 per cent of our observations register unemployment of more than 15 per cent, which would raise their vote share by over 10 per cent. The variable GDP is individually not significant, perhaps because unemployment itself contains already many of the underlying economic dynamics and because it is the level of unemployment, rather than just economic growth, that is generally the politically sensitive issue. Yet a test of joint significance reveals that unemployment and GDP are jointly highly significant at the .05 level (p = 0.0052 and 0.0016). The sign of the GDP coefficient is as hypothesized positive: RLPs thrive better in a bad economic climate. This accords with much empirical evidence presented throughout: for example Bloco has grown as Portugal’s economy faltered and in the 2009 EP elections RLPs did perform well in some economies most directly hit by economic crisis (e.g. Latvia, Ireland). It’s no accident that Europe’s strongest RLP is in its poorest country (Moldova). The existence of an electoral threshold of 3 per cent or higher reduces the vote share of RLPs by more than 7 per cent. This is not unexpected, given the number

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of RLPs whose vote is in single figures, for whom the electoral threshold proves a formidable barrier. For instance the Hungarian Workers Party (Munkáspárt) polled up to 4 per cent in the 1990s but never got a parliamentary seat. Generally, higher electoral thresholds in Eastern Europe can be regarded as contributing to RLP marginalization there. The variable PROP is only significant in the second model and its negative coefficient comes as a surprise. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the vast majority of countries in our sample (93 per cent of elections) have a proportional system. The variable FEDERALISM is neither individually nor jointly significant. This is also perhaps surprising, but it is clear from empirical examples that, as in the Soviet era, RLPs are successful in unitary states (e.g. France, Cyprus, Moldova) as well as federal/devolved ones (e.g. Germany/Spain). Possibly, as with RRPs, the main role of federalism/devolution is to help parties with a significantly localised support basis (cf. Mudde 2007: 301). Examples would include the German LP (with its original East German heartland) and the Scottish Socialist Party. So the role of federalism is to help locally rooted parties in particular rather than RLPs in general. Empirical evidence shows that at a micro-level, electoral rules clearly do matter. For example, the Netherlands’ highly proportional electoral system helped the SP get its first foothold in parliament, while a change in electoral rules contributed to the LP’s ejection from the Bundestag in 2002. Changes to electoral rules increasingly forced Rifondazione to make opportunistic electoral alliances. The coefficient EXCOM, which is significant at the 1 and 5 per cent level respectively, indicates that, as expected, RLPs perform better in former communist countries; here they have over 9 per cent more votes. This corroborates the findings of the successor party literature that communist legacies can translate into post-communist success. This leaves us with the question of poolability; in other words are the coefficients for former communist countries different from the rest of the sample? Evidence can be found in form of a chow test for structural change between these two groups, indicating that the sets of coefficients are not significantly different. Several party system features are significant also. As predicted, the variable COMPETITION is significant and its coefficient positive: the competition exerted by radical right and Green parties successful at the previous election reduces the share of vote for RLPs by 3.1 and 2.86 per cent respectively. The margin of this effect does not change markedly if there has been only a Green party in the outgoing parliament (–2.7 and –3) or only a RRP (–2.8 and –3.1). Individually these party competition effects have almost the same coefficient (–2.78 for radical right and –2.67 for Green parties) and are significant at the 10 per cent level. It does not seem to matter for the electoral performance of RLPs whether a left or right party has been in government previously, the variables EXECL and EXECR are neither individually nor jointly significant. As revealed by the positive and significant coefficient of the variable OPPOSITION, RLP electoral success is helped by a highly fragmented party landscape. Yet the variables AGE and YEAROFFICE are neither individually nor jointly significant, indicating that ‘cartelization’ has little identifiable effect. There appears a logical relationship between these findings: greater multipartism will both present more openings

Electoral success and failure 195 for niche parties to develop and offer fewer opportunities for certain parties to cartelize competition. On the other hand, this finding contradicts the literature for radical right parties and also empirical evidence that this book has presented: the allegation that mainstream political actors monopolize the political (and economic) system to exclude unorthodox actors has been a frequent claim of RLPs, particularly the more populist ones. Nevertheless, some analysts of the radical right do share the view that cartelization may only be important when it is combined with ideological convergence (Mudde 2007: 300). We have indicated above that we could not accurately measure this ideological convergence in the case of RLPs because of lack of data. However, we have previously shown several empirical examples that suggest that it does play a role: for many RLPs it is not the monopolization of the political spectrum by the establishment per se that is important, but the alleged ideological hegemony of neo-liberalism that is fostered by the programmatic convergence of ‘identikit’ centre-left and centre-right parties – recall, for example, the Dutch SP’s attacks on the remote, ‘neo-liberal Ayatollahs’ of the ‘political caste.’ The variable VOTURNOUT is significant at the 10 per cent level. Our analysis supports the claim (e.g. Radcliff 1994; Pacek and Radcliff 2003) that higher voter turnout benefits left parties, and means that RLPs succeed in part when their claims to be including the excluded (for instance one of the German LP’s 2009 campaign themes was ending the ‘social exclusion of the disadvantaged’) find resonance among lower status voters who may not normally vote (LP 2009).

Internal supply-side The previous analysis should emphatically not be taken to prove that RLPs are passive actors simply responding mechanically to an external environment. Notably, many external conditions for RLP success (modernization crisis, high unemployment, struggling social democrats and weak competitors) do exist across much of Europe, but far from all European countries have strong RLPs. So if external factors can best explain an RLP’s electoral breakthrough, internal factors are likely to be more valid in explaining electoral persistence (c.f. Mudde 2007: 301). So, paraphrasing Marx, we agree that parties make their own history, but not in circumstances of their own choosing. So which internal characteristics might impact on RLP electoral fortunes? Following Chapter 2, we could focus on party origins, intra-party power balance, ideology, party goal and how these factors impact on critical junctures in party development. Party origins: we have shown how parties that took the initiative in reforming communism (especially in Scandinavia) prior to communism’s collapse were best placed to survive it. Where there is still some valid communist ‘usable past’ that can be transferred to post-communist environs, this may allow parties to persist: this applies above all to the East European successor parties, but the Greek KKE, French PCF and Rifondazione can also appeal to a longer ‘heroic’ revolutionary tradition dating back to the early 1920s and reaching its apex in the World War

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Two aftermath. Conversely, where the communist tradition was all but extinguished prior to 1989 (e.g. Austria, the UK) or anti-communism is most powerful (the Baltic states, Western Germany), RLPs have struggled to re-emerge. Overall, the evolution of many RLPs since their re(founding) in 1989–90 corroborates the focus of Grzymała-Busse, Ishiyama and Kitschelt on the path-dependent effects of party origins: whether a previous ‘usable past’ can be employed in the postcommunist era depends much on how elite struggles in the transition from communism were resolved at the party’s (re)founding. This lastingly affected whether a party was able to adopt a clear post-communist policy direction (for example the SP took rapid steps to centralize and de-Leninize). Where internal conflicts were not decisively resolved (e.g. VAS, KSČM, Rifondazione), new parties remain dogged with internal disputes over their strategic direction, several of which had their roots in the Soviet era. The intra-party balance Clearly, party organization is also an important variable. Chapter 2 showed that over-dependence on Leninist democratic centralism was a critical weakness of traditional CPs, and those parties that interpreted it most flexibly were also the most adaptable. In the post-Soviet era, this pattern has recurred: some parties have combined democratic centralism with ideological and strategic flexibility (e.g. PCRM, AKEL), while many (e.g. KKE, KPRF) have demonstrated the strategic ossification common to democratically centralist parties In general, however, many RLPs have replaced democratic centralism with an orientation towards new left Basisdemokratie (alongside close collaboration with the GJM, which has only increased distrust of traditional communist organizational forms). While demonstrably more pluralist, many have consequently suffered from significant internal dissent. This was noted above all in Rifondazione, which was internally diffuse at its outset and developed a tradition of leadership splits at critical moments, which its ‘contamination’ by the social movements after 2001 did little to help. This study clearly shows that party leadership matters. The ‘dominant faction’ emerging at certain critical junctures can exercise a long-term, path-dependent effect. For example, where policy seeking conservatives gained control in the early 1990s (e.g. the KPRF and KKE), these parties continue to pursue a largely ideological, introverted, policy seeking strategy. Where pragmatic leaders have maintained control of the party organization and been able to centralize and professionalize the party (as in the SP or PCRM), or made unity one of their central values (Bloco), these parties have been largely able to respond flexibly to their environments with minimal risks of party splits. In the most effective parties, the role of leadership has also changed. Rather than the dogmatic, ‘democratically centralized’ personalities of the traditional CPs such as Georges Marchais and Álvaro Cunhal, many modern leaders (particularly the populists) are media-savvy performers who present a non-dogmatic but principled image, and are considered ‘charismatic’ even by political opponents.

Electoral success and failure 197 Such leaders include Gregor Gysi (LP), Frederico Louça (Bloco) and indeed the Swedish V’s leader from 1993–2004, Gudrun Schyman, who was popular for her openness regarding past alcohol problems, her feminism and anti-communism. The strong charisma and leadership skills of PCRM leader Vladimir Voronin (at least until several serious miscalculations in 2009) contrast with more traditionally dour communist leaders such as the KPRF’s Gennadii Zyuganov and KKE’s Aleka Papariga, who have little attraction beyond the converted. Of course, poor leadership has been equally evident throughout this book. Zyuganov, for one, has missed numerous opportunities to broaden the KPRF’s appeal. The SSP is one of the most visible examples of the perils of over-dependence on the temperament of a single populist leader. The collapse of Rifondazione was aided by a precipitate attempt to found the Rainbow Left coalition that its supporters poorly understood. The PCF has continually reformed ‘too little, too late’. Generally, as Harmel and Janda argue, leadership change does appear to be one of the most significant factors impacting on party success: many parties have suffered electorally directly from leadership changes (e.g. VAS, SP, SSP, the LP under Zimmer and after Lafontaine); in other cases a new leader has rapidly brought electoral gain (e.g. the LP under Lafontaine, the SF under Søvndal, the PCF under Hue). Ideology This book has delineated five RLP ideological subtypes (conservative communists, reform communists, democratic socialists, populist socialists and the social populists). Are some ideological trajectories more successful than others? Table 9.7 categorizes all those parties with parliamentary representation in terms of their ideological subtype and average electoral success. Mudde’s aforementioned triadic definition of success is not sufficiently discriminatory for our purposes (many RLPs have support over 5 per cent and so would be regarded as ‘successful’). Therefore we re-categorize parties as unsuccessful (10 per cent). From Table 9.7, we can see that the most successful groups are the conservative communists and social populists (approximately 50 per cent of each category is successful). This appears to corroborate three main claims made in this book: one the strong role played by an Eastern ‘usable past’ (the only successful Western parties are in Cyprus, Iceland, Northern Ireland and 1990s Greece). Second, the Eastern landscape is particularly propitious for populism, whereas non-communist RLPs are virtually absent there. The third point is that even in the West non-communist RLPs generally struggle to carve out a fully successful niche. Although reform communists are moderately successful (only two are unsuccessful), some 40 percent of democratic socialists are unsuccessful, whereas most populist socialists are unsuccessful. Of course, this table gives no idea of trajectory. Comparing with Table 1.1 reveals that many conservative communists (e.g. Rifondazione, PCE) are in (often steep) decline, the democratic socialists are relatively stable, and the populist socialists are volatile, prone to rapid advance (LP, SP) but also prone to collapse (SSP, Respect).

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Table 9.7 Ideology and RLP electoral success Parties Conservative communists Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM) (until 2005) Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Communist Party of Luxembourg (KPL) Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) Communist Party of Slovakia (KSS) Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) French Communist Party (PCF) (until 1994) Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) (until 2003) Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) Socialist Party of Latvia (LSP) Reform communists Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM) (after 2005) French Communist Party (PCF) (after 1994) Labour Party of Switzerland (PdA) Party of Communist Refoundation (PRC) Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) (after 2003) Party of Italian Communists (PdCI) Progressive Party of the Working People (AKEL) Sammarinese Communist Refoundation (RCS) United Left/Communist Party of Spain (IU/PCE)

Average electoral success since 1990 high medium low high low high medium high medium high high medium low medium high low high medium medium

Democratic Socialists Coalition of the Left (SYN/SYRIZA) Democratic Left (DL) Democratic Social Movement (DIKKI) Estonian United Left Party (EÜVP) Left Alliance (Finland) (VAS) Left–Green Movement (Iceland) (VG) Left Bloc (BE) Left Party (Sweden) (V) Red–Green Alliance (Denmark) (EL) Socialist Left Party (Norway) (SV) Socialist Party (Netherlands) (SP) (post 2008) Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU) (1990s) Socialist People’s Party (Denmark) (SF) Solidarities (S) The Left (Luxembourg) (LÉNK)

medium low low low medium high medium medium low medium medium medium medium low low

Populist socialists Left Party (Germany) (LP) New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA) (France) Respect (UK) Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) Socialist Party (Ireland) (SP) Socialist Party (Netherlands) (SP) (until 2008)

medium low low low low medium

Electoral success and failure 199 Social populists Association of Slovak Workers (ZRS) Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) (until c.2000) Direction–Social Democracy (Slovakia) (SMER–SD) Electoral Bloc Fatherland (BePR) Estonian United People’s Party (EÜRP) Just Russia (SR) Labour Party (Lithuania) (DP) Latvian Unity Party (LVP)* Motherland (Russia)* Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Greece) (PASOK) (until c.1996) Party of Civic Understanding (Slovakia) (SOP)* Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine (PSPU) Romanian Social Democratic Party (PDSR/PSD) (until c.2000) Self–Defence (Poland) Sinn Féin (Ireland/N. Ireland) Socialist Labour Party (Romania) (PSM)* Socialist Party of Albania (PS) (until c.2000) Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) (until 2008) Socialist People’s Party of Montenegro (SNP) (until c. 2001)

low high high medium medium medium high low medium high high low high medium medium/high low high high high

Source: www.parties–and–elections.de Note * now defunct.

Party goal Are modern RLPs still archetypal introverted, policy-seeking parties? Certainly this can be said of a number of more unsuccessful ones: sectarianism and/or strategic disputes over compromises necessary for governing have been evident in a number of parties, such as Rifondazione, the PCF and KPRF. Several parties have (often after some convulsions) proved content with a predominantly policyseeking niche position (e.g. the KSČM, KKE, KPRF), which guarantees stability but little influence. However, a number of parties are increasingly vote/office-seeking. Arguably the PCRM and AKEL have long been so, whereas a number (e.g. SF, LP, SP, Bloco) are increasingly envisaging ‘left–left’ coalitions even at national level. Many others have sought new constituencies, alliances and supporters since 1990. Several now exist in permanent or semi-permanent coalitions, such as the Portuguese CDU and Spanish IU: many others (such as the ‘broad left’ parties) are coalitions in origin. Others still adopt explicitly cross-class alliance strategies (e.g. the Moldovan PCRM’s (brief) alliance with the right-wing Christian Democrats). On a micro-level, some advantageous party strategies can be observed. Many now rely far less on abstract ideological slogans and doctrine, and try to encapsulate all radical left trends under an umbrella of opposition to neo-liberalism that makes little electoral reference to Marxism or socialism (most noticeably Bloco

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and the SP). Emphasis on short-term practical ‘campaigning’ issues can help them broaden their support (as with the SP’s espousal of the ‘No’ campaign in 2005). Many parties adopt non-traditional ideological approaches, such as environmentalism, feminism and regionalism. Even the conservative communists sometimes dally with populism and nationalism.

Conclusion In the course of our analysis, we have shown that both the supply- and demand-side factors presented go a long way towards explaining the electoral success of RLPs. We found particularly propitious factors to be previous representation in parliament; high opposition to the EU; high unemployment; the absence of an electoral threshold; whether the RLP operates in a former communist country; the absence of competing radical right and green parties; higher multipartism and, finally, higher voter turnout. The only slightly unanticipated results were the absence of significance for factors such as a right-wing party in government, federalism and cartelization of the party system, whereas electoral system proportionality had no positive effect. Overall, support for RLPs seems strongly related to the ‘modernization crisis’ and deep dissatisfaction with the effects of neo-liberalism associated with globalization and ‘market power Europe.’ We also indicated that communist parties and social populist parties remain best placed to exploit these opportunities, particularly in the East, indicating that RLP success is still heavily influenced by the communist legacy. Populism, however, remains a two-edged sword – unambiguously beneficial in the East, but less propitious and even dangerous to party stability in the West. Many RLPs still appear content with policy-seeking and protest roles, but in order to maximally exploit their opportunities, all need good, even charismatic leadership, strategically united party organizations and flexible office-seeking strategies that look for new allies and constituencies.

10 Conclusion

We are now in a position to address the research questions, analysing: 1) the key ideological and strategic positions of contemporary European RLPs; 2) the coherence and ‘radicalism’ of their vision; 3) the reasons for their electoral success; 4) and, finally, their overall impact on European national and international politics.

Ideological and strategic convergence The different party categories I have used throughout this book do map onto significant ideological and strategic differences: despite their increasing eclecticism, the communists are the parties most likely still to describe themselves as Marxist (and in the East, Marxist-Leninist), to be less critical of the Soviet heritage (again, especially in the East), to maintain traditional, if much weakened, international ties (including to CPs elsewhere), and to have the most vehemently expressed reservations about cooperation with ‘bourgeois’ political forces (even Rifondazione). Relative to these, and consonant with their greater attempts (but not always successful) to adapt to new left themes, the democratic socialists and populist socialists reject much of the ‘Stalinist’ Soviet heritage, emphasize non-statist and participatory democratic solutions, are less theoretically oriented and less likely to describe themselves as Marxist or revolutionary parties. These two latter party categories have much in common, but differ principally in ideological emphasis: the democratic socialists more obviously espouse traditional left-libertarian agendas and pragmatic attitudes towards governmental participation; the populist socialists’ railing against the ‘establishment’ tends to relegate these concerns to secondary importance. I have emphasized throughout that these party categories are dynamic and their barriers permeable. Several CPs (such as the PCF) have moved towards a more democratic socialist position; similarly, some populist socialist parties such as the SP have moderated their distinctive anti-elite appeals in anticipation of governing, whilst a number of communist parties (e.g. KKE, KPRF) have at times adopted nationalist-populist positions. Key differences between parties are defined increasingly by strategy and tactics rather than doctrine: historical animosities between ‘Stalinists’, ‘Trotskyists’ etc. and the opaque, internecine ideological wrangles

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of the extreme left are largely confined to the margins. The question of ‘reform’ vs. ‘revolution’ is only really relevant to the ‘revolutionary’ extreme left, since most relevant RLPs have reconciled themselves to transformative change through ‘bourgeois’ liberal democratic institutions, consigning systemic transformation to the longer term, and do not seek to ‘smash the system’. For many it is now not a question of whether to participate in government, but when and on what terms. The emergence of a large number of ‘broad left’ parties and coalitions (most latterly the PCF with the Left Front) which aim deliberately to bridge competing traditions, further blur inter-party divisions. In large part due to new international fora such as the NELF, GUE/NGL and PEL (as demonstrated in particular by the PEL’s 2009 EP manifesto), the principal European RLPs now share core strategic aims such as opposition to ‘neo-liberal’ capitalism, a preference for state-directed, non-market intervention (welfarism, job creation and protection and wealth redistribution) and commitments to environmentalism, feminism and minority rights and greater democratic participation. Despite concessions to national electorates and occasional populism, they retain a strong internationalist outlook: at the very least they oppose ‘globalizing’ or ‘imperialist’ structures and express pacifism and ‘solidarity’ with the plight of the globally oppressed; at the most they actively seek new forms of transnational cooperation that seek both multilateralism and a common purpose. Moreover, the specific policy agenda for European RLPs (particularly those who cooperate at EU level) has become increasingly clear over the last decade. Concrete proposals include opposing or limiting privatization of state-run sectors such as education, health and transport; defending and increasing workers’ rights, for example supporting a 35-hour maximum working week without pay loss, greater union recognition rights, raised minimum wages and opposing labour market deregulation. RLPs envisage the extension of political democracy through the use of referenda and increasing local/regional political participation and often have a libertarian social agenda, focussed on increasing gender parity and minority rights (e.g. Bloco’s campaign for civil partnership and abortion rights). Internationally, RLPs support: controls over international free trade (including advocating the Tobin tax); de-militarization (often including nuclear disarmament) as a principle of international relations; enhancing the roles of organizations like the OSCE and UN to emphasize peace-keeping. They oppose NATO as a USled, Cold War military institution and seek its abolition or (more seldom) reform; similarly they seek fundamental reform of the current ‘neo-liberal’ international financial institutions (e.g. the IMF and European Central Bank) to emphasize economic regulation and sustainable development. Opposition to the ‘really existing’ EU has proved a consolidating factor: generally, RLPs support ‘social’ Europe and pursue European cooperation in order to formulate common policies and campaigning strategies that further labour, women’s and environmental rights but oppose ‘political’ Europe (greater federalization), ‘military’ Europe (the development of a common foreign and defence policy) and ‘market power’ Europe (unhindered economic competition and the loss of national economic levers). Accordingly, most relevant RLPs opposed the

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Constitutional and Lisbon treaties on grounds of a) their neo-liberal emphasis; b) perceived political federalization; c) the lack of democratic consultation involved, without necessarily disapproving of EU integration per se (one slogan was ‘say NO to this treaty for a better treaty’). This is not to deny significant obstacles to greater cohesion. The communists (particularly to the East) are generally less concerned with or supportive of libertarian issues such as LBGT rights, drugs decriminalization and opposition to nuclear power, still less the improvement of democracy (the eastern CPs in particular have strong authoritarian tendencies). Attitudes to the EU are still too divided for a clear vision of ‘another Europe’ to evolve. Several parties are Eurorejectionist (e.g. KKE, PCP, and V advocate withdrawal, SV, VG, KPRF, KPU advocate non-accession), but others (e.g. VAS, SF, Synaspismós, AKEL, PCRM, LP) are increasingly integrationist. Many of these integrationist parties support greater democratization of the EU (including increased powers for the EP) alongside further EU enlargement. Other parties (e.g. SP, KKE, PCP) directly oppose this. Such incoherence by no means helps RLPs expand their influence in Eastern Europe, particularly where pro-EU sentiments are strong. Similar trends (especially a lack of agreed conception of ‘alternative Europe’ and ‘EU-pessimist’ positions that are often more informed by ideology than responsive to the electorate) are also evident in the radical right (Mudde 2007: 158–183). However, relative to the nationally focussed right, international RLP cooperation is far more coherent and institutionalized. Moreover, historically influenced suspicions, though weakened, are far from unimportant. For instance, several parties’ scepticism of the PEL is intensified by the apparent communist dominance of the organization, while for others it is not communist enough. Moreover, where parties from different traditions coexist in the same party system, their mutual relations are often noxious (especially in Greece, although decreasingly so in France and Portugal). The maximalist approaches of extreme tendencies within RLPs (in particular their absolute opposition to cooperation with ‘neo-liberal’ social democracy) have much complicated these parties’ strategic options (e.g. in Italy, Germany and Finland). Nevertheless, overall the major disagreements are arguably now no more critical than those within many other party families and a coherent radical left party family can be identified.

Is there any left radicalism left? A definite trend towards de-radicalization is noticeable. The most extreme parties are generally among the most politically marginal (e.g. in Greece), and even they pay lip-service to democratic proceduralism and pursue incremental, rather than insurrectionary, political strategies. European integration has produced the most obvious de-radicalizing dynamics: this is most noticeable in the rapid social democratization of many social populist parties in Eastern Europe (such as the Bulgarian Socialist Party, Socialist Party of Albania, Romanian Social Democratic Party and now the Serbian Socialist Party), who have moved from being

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potential members of the radical left party family to core or potential members of the Socialist International. The softening of the Euroscepticism of certain key players (e.g. VAS and SF), as they bring their policies more in line with public opinion, has been observable. The EP elections have strengthened the role of the PEL’s parties towards reforming the EU from within. Moreover, the increasing experience of governmental participation (as outlined further below) has had a noticeable moderating effect as, faced with the necessity of political compromise, many parties have moved (hesitantly) from policy-seeking towards more officeseeking behaviour, with even parties as yet untested in public office (such as the SP and LP, which are ostensibly ‘anti-establishment’) no longer excluding it. In the process, the Leninist dictum of ‘the worse the better’, already challenged by Eurocommunist parties in the 1970s, appears to have been discarded by the Realo party leaderships, if not always their more Fundi memberships. This dynamic is most evident in the experience of the Moldovan PCRM, which moved decisively from building Europe’s Cuba to uncritically promoting EU membership within one electoral cycle. A critical element of de-radicalization has been the absence of obvious strategic vision offered by RLPs themselves. This is clearly not a recent development: socialist thought has traditionally been defined more by what it has opposed than proposed (Bobbio 1988). However, the collapse of the USSR has deprived RLPs of a viable developmental model and a meta-narrative alternative to neo-liberal capitalism. After all, even if critical of Stalinism and the USSR’s lack of democracy, many on the global left regarded its economic system as basically viable and ‘socialist’ until well into the 1980s (Cox 2009). What can today’s RLPs offer in its place? As we have seen, hardly any except the most conservative communists offer impoverished and isolated North Korea or increasingly capitalistic China as models. Cuba exerts a lingering fascination over some, and Chávez’ Venezuela and Morales’ Bolivia increasingly so. However, the marked authoritarianism of the former two is often troubling to RLPs, and few have convincingly outlined how these states’ political and economic systems could convincingly be transplanted to European soil (particularly given that Venezuela’s opposition to international capital is predicated on vast oil reserves that Europe will increasingly lack in coming decades). Indeed, rather than suggesting the systemic emulation of these models, RLPs often emphasize a more eclectic array of positive examples that might form the basis of a future anti-capitalist alternative – for example, Chávez’ use of popular referenda and the recall of public officials; the experience of participative budgeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil; increasingly (although not without hesitation) European ‘left–left’ coalitions in Finland, Norway and the German Länder; finally, single-issue campaigns such as Bloco’s in Portugal (e.g. Daiber 2010). It is symptomatic, however, that many RLPs (often the most successful ones), spend little time concentrating on an abstract ‘socialism’, and focus on shorterterm local initiatives, extra-parliamentary campaigning, and trying to tip the legislative agenda leftwards; this is an important aspect of the activity of parties as diverse as the SSP, LP, Bloco and SP. Their radicalism has become increasingly

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implicit; most now only indirectly emphasize their anti-capitalism and outline a more ‘situational’ radicalism – one which proposes unorthodox policies, aims to include the excluded and, overall, tries to ‘break the mould’ of traditional politics. Symptomatically, several leaders (e.g. Marijnissen of the SP, Siimes of VAS) have not even referred to themselves as socialists, and only the extreme left regularly espouses the language of anti-capitalism and socialism rather than just antineo-liberalism. The appellate ‘Left’, now increasingly preferred to ‘Socialist’ by newer parties, indicates an attempt to bridge, if not simply sidestep, thorny theoretical issues, as well as to appropriate the term from the social democrats. Certainly, opposition to ‘neo-liberal’ third way social democracy, defence of the traditional policies abandoned by it, and appeal to its disaffected supporters play increasingly vital roles as identity markers for RLPs, so much so that Arter’s argument (2002: 24) that the neo-liberalization of social democracy has allowed the NGL simply to become the custodian of traditional social democratic values and policies might be extrapolated to RLPs more generally. Giddens’ accusation that what passes for radicalism is simply the desperate conservative defence of failed state interventionism (see Chapter 1) also appears prima facie plausible. The extreme left in particular usually regards radical left parties as ‘social democratic’ (even ‘neo-liberal’!). Some left party leaders are unapologetic: Fausto Bertinotti admitted that some of Rifondazione’s policies were neo-Keynesian. Others (like Francisco Louçã of Bloco), deny that their perspective is merely left-Keynesianism . Others still take an intermediary position: the SSP’s Colin Fox has argued that, since the UK Labour Party is ‘not interested in reforms any more’, parties like the SSP have been handed the ‘left-reformist’ agenda, which is nevertheless ‘revolutionary’, being defence of achievements that would otherwise rapidly disappear (Fox 2007). In this way, RLPs insist that protecting the social democratic state is not retrograde but enables a future, more revolutionary ‘socialist’ agenda, even if this is relatively undefined, and the process of getting there (as with the PCF ‘overcoming’, Rifondazione’s ‘surpassing’ or Bloco’s ‘breaking with’ capitalism) vague. Moreover, it is far too simplistic to reduce RLPs’ overall agenda to Keynesianism redux. Their emphasis on environmental and feminist politics, cross-border campaigning, extra-parliamentary and grass-roots participation exceeds that of all but the most left wing of traditional social democrats. The implication of RLPs’ international strategy (especially opposition to the main Euro-Atlantic institutions) is a radical change to the current international system. RLPs’ proposals advocate a strengthening of EU economic protectionism, and the reduction of unbridled competition alongside a reduction of political integration, a rethinking, if not dissolution of, NATO, a reorientation towards the global South and a far more critical stance towards US foreign policy. To adopt such proposals would involve a fundamental shift in the post-World War Two European policy agenda. Overall then, RLPs’ vision has become noticeably de-radicalized (and constantly faces pressures in this direction), but it is still radical in many of its implications for contemporary European politics. Clearly, it lacks either the doctrinal precision and hegemonic aspirations of Leninism (it’s an open question whether

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Lenin would have regarded even the contemporary ‘communist’ parties as such), but the movement from a more systemic to a more situationally defined radicalism still implies unorthodox policies. Whether there is a coherent radical philosophy at their core may be doubted, particularly since most RLPs are far too politically marginal to implement their policies. Moreover, the emphasis on progressive state intervention has faced even greater challenge in the ‘age of austerity’. Currently European voters appear simultaneously to share concerns over unbridled market power and deep pessimism over the ability of the state to correct market injustices (Policy Network 2011). This poses fundamental challenges to the left as a whole, but to a radical left committed to defending the social democratic state largely wholesale, the risk of perpetuating a credibility problem is still greater. Overall key divisions over concrete policies (especially attitudes to the EU), and the fuzziness of the ‘socialist’ vision imply that despite common slogans such as ‘Another World/Europe is Possible’, RLPs still lack a concrete hegemonic project that would facilitate moving from defensive to offensive, and convincingly articulating how a different political and economic system might be constructed.

Causes of electoral success and failure Chapter 9 examined the reasons for RLP success in detail. That chapter has two major broader implications. For one, it showed that the mobilization potential of the radical left is somewhat broader than its achieved electoral success. Certainly, although the radical left is clearly stronger in the East because of the communist legacy, most of the external preconditions for RLP success identified (particularly the modernization crisis, opposition to the EU and poor economic performance) have been present across Europe, even before the 2007–8 crisis. Moreover, although RLPs are adversely affected by high electoral thresholds and competition from the centre-left, Greens and radical right, they can otherwise succeed in a wide-range of external institutional and party system conditions. The second related point is that since some of the preconditions for RLP success are near-universal, they should not be seen as niche actors on the margins of the political spectrum whose values are alien to the mainstream values of contemporary democracy, but rather as actors who exploit issues (such as globalization anxiety and economic insecurity) that are indeed mainstream current concerns. So-called ‘far left’ sentiment is not insignificant: in a recent Eurobarometer survey (74.1, 2010) of all EU member states, 7.16 per cent of respondents identified themselves on the outer side of the left–right spectrum, whereas only 5.64 per cent fell into the far right camp. Given the prevailing economic winds, such sentiments might conceivably grow. Moreover, many core features of radical left ideology are a radicalization of values held by (some of) the political mainstream, such as egalitarianism and internationalism. Therefore, as with the radical right, the demand and mobilization potential for the radical left is somewhat broader than its achieved success (Mudde 2010). As Chapter 9 noted, although external factors provide a good basis for predicting the likelihood of RLP breakthroughs, party persistence is better explained by internal factors. To a large degree,

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success is what parties make of it. Many contemporary RLPs have made strides in overcoming historical problems of poor leadership, internal divisions, policyseeking fundamentalism and strategic incoherence. Nevertheless, the paucity of really successful RLPs outside Eastern Europe indicates the scale of the problem remaining.

Policy impact: from Marxism to the mainstream? RLPs are here to stay in Europe. Party aggregate support, as Chapter 1 argued, is stable and in some cases even increasing. In many European countries RLPs have become a key policy (even existential) challenge to mainstream social democracy. Moreover, in every case this radical left is now a domestic phenomenon not relying on external support for its existence. As a European party family, the radical left is increasingly confident, co-ordinated and consolidated, and has periodically been as strong as the Greens and radical right (who both also provide major challenges to social democracy). However, there are clear weaknesses. This is still, predominately, a ‘small party family’, generally stronger in Europe’s smaller or more peripheral states (e.g. Moldova, Iceland, Cyprus). Moreover, it is drastically under-represented in Eastern Europe, and still dominated by (often ailing) CPs, who have rarely been able to recapture their former support. What is more, the direct policy impact of RLPs, is, so far, relatively negligible. I noted in Chapter 8 that the GJM’s main achievement has been affecting the political climate and enthusing its activists rather than changing policy. Certainly, RLPs have been involved in key campaigns both internationally (e.g. opposition to the proposed EU Constitution and then Lisbon treaty) and nationally (e.g. Portuguese legalization of abortion, opposition to Agenda 2010 in Germany) that have had wider resonance, but none of these fundamentally altered the ideology or even the pace of neo-liberal globalization in Europe until an economic crisis generated from within neo-liberalism, rather than by its critics, did so in 2007–8. RLP weakness in direct policy terms is most visible in their government participation.1 RLPs have become increasingly open towards coalition government with social democrats and Greens (and occasionally, as in Finland, with parties of the centre and centre-right), or at the least to ad hoc cooperation in parliament and support for social democrat minority governments (see Table 10.1). As demonstrated throughout, this has been driven by a number of factors; principally the need to avoid isolation and pariah status, success in appealing to disaffected centre-left supporters and improving electoral performance (particularly at local level). In general, as Table 10.1 shows, government participation has not been a particularly happy experience for RLPs. In many cases, parties have lost support afterwards, sometimes drastically so (the average loss is 14.4 per cent). The principal exceptions are in Cyprus and (partially) Moldova, where the RLP has been the dominant party, and so has been able to exercise power and responsibility: the PCRM was re-elected in 2005 and 2009 with marginal losses until finally losing office in July 2009, while in Cyprus AKEL leader Demitris Christofias was elected President in 2008, despite AKEL losing votes in 2006.

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Table 10.1 RLP government participation after 1990 Country

Party

Date

Type of participation

Vote trajectory Percentage at following change in election vote

Cyprus

AKEL

Denmark

SF

2003– 2008– 1994–1998 1998–2001 1994–1998 1998–2001 1995–9 1999–2003 1989–1993 1997–2002 1989–1990 2009 (April) – 1994–7

Coalition Coalition Support Support Support Support Coalition Coalition Support Coalition Coalition Coalition Coalition

–3.6 Not yet known +0.2 –1.1 –0.4 –0.3 –0.3 –1.0 –1.9 –5.1 –0.7 Not yet known –0.3

1996–8

Support

–1.9 (total PRC –22.1 and PdCI)

EL Finland

VAS

France

PCF

Greece Iceland Ireland Italy

SYN/KKE VG Democratic Left PRC

Italy

PdCI PRC/PdCI

1998–2001 2006–8

Support Coalition

Moldova

PCRM

Government Government Government

Norway

SV

Russia Spain Sweden Sweden Ukraine

KPRF IU V

2001–5 2005–Feb 2009 2009 (April–July) 1994 2005–9 2009 1998–9 2004–2008 1998–2002 2002–2006 2006–7 2010–

Average

KPU

Support Coalition Coalition Support Support Support Support Coalition Coalition

–10.4 n/a +2.7 –14.7 –12.9 –11.1 –2.7 –9.2 –16.8 –51.2 –6.4 n/a –10.7

–7.1 (total PRC, –69.6 PdCI and Greens) –4.1 –8.2 +3.5 +7.6 –4.8 –9.7 –1.9 –2.6 Not yet known +2.0 –1.2 –3.6 –2.5 +1.7 Not yet known –1.6

–27.1 –29.6 n/a +9 –24 –30 –29.8 +45.9 n/a –14.4

Source: Bale and Dunphy (2011), author’s calculations from www.parties-and-elections.de.

Elsewhere, RLPs are smaller and face the dilemma of small parties everywhere – sharing policy responsibility with larger parties without significant power to affect it. Indeed, from this perspective the post-participation losses are not bad – the Greens average 20 per cent and the radical right 14.2 per cent.2 Nevertheless minority support status, whereby a party lends its parliamentary votes to support a government but has no official representation in cabinet, has been regarded as ‘the worst of all worlds’ in this regard, and has led towards an increased aspiration to be included in formal coalition (Bale and Dunphy 2011). In general, RLPs join such coalitions in order to resist governmental neo-liberalism (diluting, slowing

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or opposing it), and to steer the governmental centre of gravity to the left, by making incremental advances for their own policy agenda and acting as the ‘left-wing conscience’ of the social democrats. Government participation still presents acute dilemmas. As I have argued throughout, anti-establishment strategies may guarantee medium-term electoral success and mobilize populist discontent against social democrats but offer little concrete policy influence; yet more compromising attitudes to governmental coalition offer greater influence but risk de-radicalization. RLPs usually have at best too few ministers (generally looking after employment, welfare, environmental or women’s portfolios) to demonstrate concrete benefits to their supporters. Losses from governmental participation have been particularly severe where there have been alternative protest parties of left or right for dissatisfied voters to defect to (e.g. in Italy in 2008 and France in 2002). Moreover, as in Norway in 2005, the key beneficiaries of ‘left–left’ coalitions are often the larger social democrats (Olsen 2010). Overall, RLPs can point to not negligible but still limited reforms in office – incremental increases in welfare and employment benefits, the dilution of privatization and marketization, progressive legislation, some increase in governmental subsidies and regulation, but hardly a ‘radical’ reformulation of capitalism. Some successes (e.g. the employment measures of the Jospin government, the legalization of abortion in Portugal, even the ‘No’ campaigns against the proposed EU constitution), had wide support in other parties (including social democrats), and so it is difficult to see RLPs’ contribution as pivotal. Moreover, they have trouble in putting a positive spin on achievements that can be seen as negative or defensive (e.g. preventing ‘worse’ policies being adopted) (Olsen 2011). Even where they have been dominant in government in Cyprus and Moldova, it is tricky to demonstrate that RLPs’ policies have been markedly different from those offered by a leftwing social democratic party, greater emphasis on economic dirigisme and greater scepticism towards Euro-Atlantic institutions notwithstanding. It’s true that both the PCRM and AKEL’s social policies (e.g. increasing education and welfare spending) are increasingly admired by the radical left, but (as with the examples of Venezuela and Bolivia), it is difficult to see how such examples from less-developed countries can be more widely inspiring in richer European countries, particularly given that some (e.g. Moldova, Venezuela) are viewed by mainstream European elites as synonymous with authoritarianism (and not entirely unfairly). Indeed on some of the biggest questions (e.g. opposing the EU constitution, governmental participation in NATO operations, austerity measures), RLPs have scarcely been able to turn the tide, and have often had serious difficulties in carrying their supporters with them. The most damaging examples have been where parties have tried to play an incoherent ‘double game’ of governmental participation combined with mobilization against government measures they dislike (especially in France in 1997–2002 and Italy in 2006–8) (cf. Dunphy and Bale 2011). This strategy usually damages party unity and causes serious losses in the following elections. As we noted in Italy in particular, demonstrations against the government’s defence policy and the perception that the party in government and in the movements were becoming diametrically opposed were significant factors in Rifondazione’s eventual

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electoral fiasco in 2008. Many parties that have participated in government now realize that such a ‘double-game’ is self-defeating, and that it is better to recognize the need to compromise in advance than to pretend compromises have not occurred or to spin them as victories (ibid.). Many also regard possible losses incurred by governmental participation as no worse than electoral losses when in opposition. However, a significant number of party activists still see support party status as the most that RLPs should offer (Daiber 2010). For many parties who are now contemplating governmental participation, and whose strategies to date have heavily relied on an anti-establishment identity, such questions are likely to remain acute. It is notable that two of the principal populist socialist parties, the LP and SP, have only recently begun to temper their anti-establishment policies as they confront the prospect of left–left coalitions at national level. Overall, this lack of policy achievement or strategic distinctiveness in office contributes to RLPs’ lack of coherent hegemonic vision: ‘to date, single positive results . . . contrast with the inability to create a stable anti-hegemonist formation which might be capable of challenging neo-liberalism in its basic elements and of entering onto a stable path of transformation’ (Brie 2010: 32). Together with the emphasis on pragmatic and incremental strategies, the danger of ‘immersion in a “reformist” reality’ is ever more central. This is graphically demonstrated in the contemporary crisis-ridden socio-economic environment, when many of RLPs’ domestic aspirations (although not their foreign policies) have become more mainstream (e.g. state regulation of the market, addressing widespread economic insecurity, concern with the ‘democratic deficit’ of both the EU and European national democracies, bridging gaps between political elites and electorates). Although this looks like an unprecedented opportunity, RLPs have no guaranteed leadership over an agenda that much of the political spectrum now (apparently) espouses. The risk of ‘redwashing’ by competitors that has confronted RLPs in Eastern Europe, above all by the social populists (Chapter 6) is ever more widely apparent. Social democrats can do it by tacking ‘leftward’ (e.g. in Germany and the Netherlands in 2002); even centre-right parties have espoused job protection or welfarist rhetoric (Fidesz in Hungary and Law and Justice in Poland; Merkel and Sarkozy in the 2009 European parliamentary elections). Moreover, modern radical right parties like the True Finns, Greek LAOS and French National Front make welfarist appeals increasingly central. As Alex Callinicos has noted: ‘a left economic policy based on Keynesianism, when Keynesianism has entered the mainstream, isn’t very powerful’ (quoted in Beckett 2009). Obviously, should competitors’ redwashing policies prove cosmetic, then a space will remain for genuine left parties to exploit, as indeed it did for the Greens in the 1990s when mainstream parties’ ‘eco-friendly’ agendas stalled. However, this just highlights that as small parties, RLPs often have little direct control over their own fortunes. In particular, if social democratic parties respond to their own contemporary crises by focussing on reconnecting with their traditional supporters and finally renouncing ‘neo-liberal’ third way strategies (emphasis on the

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former is admittedly currently more in evidence than the latter), RLPs may find their existing electoral niches very squeezed indeed.3

Implications As noted at the outset, this study, although it aims to provide both breadth and depth, cannot be the ‘last word’ on rapidly changing European radical left parties. However, it does point to (and hopefully inspires) a potentially rich and, so far, little explored research agenda. First, there is particular scope for collaborative international studies that can transcend language barriers to include several interesting parties not focussed on in this study (or indeed others) such as the Icelandic VG, Latvian Socialist Party or the emerging Irish Socialist Party. The empirical study of these parties is important for its own sake, as relatively little is known about them. Second, one obvious area for exploration would be further analysis of the abovementioned supply and demand factors influencing RLP electoral success. Chapter 9 provided a large-N quantitative data set spanning 34 countries and 128 elections between 1980 and 2008, which is new and provides several advantages over those used in previous studies (most of which are qualitative case-studies which may make some of these conclusions but rarely attempt to generalize). These results generalized and tested several exogenous supply and demand factors, drawing both on existing RLP literature and insights from existing literature on anti-establishment and radical right parties. Such a large dataset, introducing a number of original and high-quality independent variables, helps both to overcome problems attributed to selection bias that many small-N studies are marred with and makes it possible to generalize the chapter’s conclusions across Europe. Moreover, Chapters 2, 9 and the various qualitative party case studies introduced several internal party variables that can explain to what degree and why parties respond to the incentives the external environment provides. Both individually and together the quantitative and qualitative explanations provide seed-corn for future research that can either further test and refine the variables used here, or use them as a basis for new studies. For instance, this book has identified that, as with the radical right, demand for radical left parties should be an assumption, not a puzzle (cf. Mudde 2010). What should be the puzzle, and a primary focus of future research, is why this demand is relatively rarely turned into consistent supply – an analysis which should focus ever more on party system competition and the strategies of RLPs themselves. Such an analysis can be further pursued in detail using different party case studies than I have used. Moreover, several factors outlined throughout the book, such as charismatic/populist leadership or the effects of party organization and factional infighting on party success are of sufficient importance to justify fuller research in their own right. Certainly, systematic exploration of the dynamics of competition between RLPs, Greens and the radical right could provide the themes for (at least two) further studies.

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Furthermore, the relationship between social democratic parties and RLPs is of crucial importance to both. There is little prospect that RLPs will outflank social democratic parties in the near future, since social democrats are still far larger, have greater governing experience and political and organizational capital (despite some gravitation towards RLPs from trade unions, most are still strongly orientated towards social democrats). However, we might expect some continued recalibration of the balance in favour of the radical left, particularly as they become more frequent coalition partners, and particularly if social democrats fail to find answers to their own crises. The relationship between RLPs and the GJM and the consolidation of ties internationally through such organizations as the European Left Party are developments now just in their infancy whose longer-term evolution deserves future scrutiny. Above all, the appeal of RLPs cannot be separated from wider problems both in EU and national political systems and within contemporary social democracy. Its root causes include: anti-establishment sentiment, socio-economic distress, the perception that mainstream political actors (above all, social democratic parties) are becoming increasingly technocratic, remote and identikit, and that citizens are naked before the forces of globalization. The current economic crisis also has unpredictable long-term political effects, especially on party systems and individual parties. However, it can easily be imagined that it will not decrease these problems. Therefore the mobilization potential of RLPs and their potential to engender change in European party systems is unlikely to decrease in importance, nor the need to study it. Although I have discussed how radical left parties engage with the eternal ‘what is to be done’ question, this study has deliberately avoided answering it, which would necessitate a more speculative and philosophical work. However, it has become evident enough that the radical left remains in crisis, inasmuch as it still urgently needs to develop a modern, coherent political philosophy that outlines a convincing, distinct and popular blueprint for a better society in order to move from largely defensive to more forward-looking perspectives. In particular, the defection of the Danish SF to the European Green Party and recent strong performances for the Greens’ (e.g. in the 2009 EP elections and currently in Germany) indicate that RLPs may be losing the race to represent the non-social democratic left. After all, environmentalism currently remains far more of the Zeitgeist than socialism and the Greens have little of the radical left’s historical baggage. Needless to say, recent election results in Hungary, Finland and elsewhere show that the radical left risks being permanently outflanked by the radical right. Of course, a new philosophy cannot simply be wished into existence, but it has been continually hampered to date by often inward-looking and mainly policyseeking (if not always sectarian) mind-sets, as well as deeply held divisions about how to engage with EU institutions and fully rational concerns about cooperating with non-radical fellow travellers. Many parties are aware of the issues but far from all have sufficiently confronted them. Similarly, this book has identified some of the key factors helping RLP success, but far from all parties have exploited them. For example, further ideological development is necessary. Although the most

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successful parties remain communist parties (particularly in the East), most are clearly in decline even from their 1990s levels, and anti-communist stigma has rarely been overcome. Accordingly, although it has demonstrated only moderate success so far, the most successful long-term strategy is likely to be a democratic socialist/eco-socialist strategy that emphasizes post-materialist concerns. Similarly, the current European socio-economic environment (particularly) in the East is primed for populism: if RLPs can find a way to become more ‘populist in a leftist way’, then this might also increase their post-communist identity and mediumterm viability, although a populist strategy remains fraught with dangers. In addition, there is still significant mileage to be gained even by practical, incremental measures. For instance, one lesson from the experiences of the PCRM and AKEL (and indeed the SP) would be to combine the maximum internal unity with the maximum external pragmatism. Further lessons from the SP and Bloco would be to concentrate on demonstrating practical utility to the electorate, rather than theoretical purity. Moreover, radical left international cooperation remains relatively rudimentary. Despite its obstacles, increasing co-ordination between the PEL and GUE/NGL group might offer a key mechanism by which lingering suspicions between communists, non-communists, Euro-rejectionists and Eurosceptics could be overcome through day-to-day dialogue and cooperation, and also might (even if necessarily indirectly given the weakness of the EP), increase the radical left’s profile across Europe. Nevertheless, in their search for a political philosophy, RLPs clearly need to do more to transcend the authoritarian and dirigiste elements of Lenin’s legacy that limit their appeal (particularly in the East). Simultaneously, as I argued in Chapter 8, while still cooperating with the GJM they could still learn from Lenin and Gramsci’s preoccupation with the practical steps necessary for taking state power (currently many activists still disparage this aim). For example, romanticizing developments in Latin America might be useful for building international solidarity, but it arguably offers few practical lessons for expanding influence within European politics. Instead, this aim involves far greater concentration on lessons learnt and problems to be faced in the specifically European context. Evidently, one of the most urgent problems confronting the radical left is how to overcome persistent weakness in the East, and its over-dependence on communists there – communists whose policies remain controversial and long-term survival is not guaranteed. The European Left Party (with the active courting of East European parties) and associated think tanks in the Transform! Network are now actively engaging with such issues. However, the scale of the problem is such that unless radical left parties find workable solutions, there is no guarantee that the European future will have a left, or the left a European future.

Notes

1 Introduction 1 For convenience, consistency and inclusivity, I will use the term ‘radical right parties’ (RRPs). 2 A more satisfactory treatment in this regard is Eley (2002), which has a wider panEuropean focus, and engages with the radical left more fully. However, Eley’s treatment of the modern radical left is predominately concerned with post-1968 new left movements, rather than political parties. 3 Like a number of authors, I prefer this more neutral, inclusive and accurate term to the ‘anti-globalization’ label. As Chapter 8 shows more fully, the GJM is ideologically diverse, international(ist) in scope and far from completely opposed to globalization. 4 However, the term ‘semi-loyalty’ is itself notoriously difficult to define, since it is often a transitional stage either towards more fundamental opposition or full acceptance of the regime and it therefore suffers from some of the weaknesses of the German extreme– radical dichotomy. 5 To some extent all such schema are arbitrary and unsatisfactory. Some authors (e.g. von Beyme 1985: 259) propose a 2 per cent cut-off. However, the higher percentage (cf. Ware 1996) and insistence on parliamentary representation is preferred to exclude a vast number of micro-parties hovering around the 1–2 per cent mark. Starting calculations in 1990 allows a focus on parties over a twenty-year period and to exclude those former ruling parties who gained parliamentary seats only during the transition from communism (e.g. the Lithuanian Communist Party). 2 From communist crisis to post-communist mutation 1 Although Daniel Keith (2010a) has written an excellent account of how the successor party literature might be used to analyse (some) Western RLPs. 2 Harmel and Janda (1994) add ‘implementing party democracy’ as a primary goal for ‘new politics’ parties. 3 After World War Two, the country’s neutrality towards the USSR further strengthened the communists, while the social democrats were implicated in war-time collaboration with the Nazis (Arter 1993). 3 The Western European communists 1 The KKE-es only gained unqualified recognition from Romania, while Eurocommunist parties sought to ‘hedge their bets’ and retain links with both parties (Clogg 1987). 2 DP was the largest extreme left grouping in Italy in 1991, with 9,000 members and 1.7 per cent support in 1987.

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3 The central-northern areas of Emilia Romagna, Toscana, Umbria and Marche. 4 For example, the Honecker Committees defended the memory of the 1917 revolution, as well as of the former GDR leader himself. The Gauche communiste denounces social democracy and demands return to revolutionism and the vanguard party (for more see Andolfatto 2001). 5 LO charts an autonomous course separate from the main Trotskyist internationals (it is the largest party in the Internationalist Communist Union). The third Trotskyist party is the Parti de Travailleurs (Workers’ Party) founded by Pierre Lambert and headed by Daniel Gluckstein. It has little electoral impact (under 0.5 per cent) but has a base in the Force ouvrière Union. For more see Bell (2010). 6 The CPE applied only to employees under 26. It aimed to make it easier for employers to fire employees by removing the obligation to provide reasons for dismissal for an initial two year period, and was withdrawn by President Chirac in April 2006. 4 The fall and (partial) rise of the Eastern European communists 1 Exploiting this legal loophole, Rubiks was elected as a Latvian MEP in June 2009. 2 JUL was essentially a ‘political mafia’ rather than a political party, which, although it claimed to be true to communist ideology was actually ‘a political sanctuary for elements of the nouveau riche who had trouble with the law’ (Branković 2002: 207). 3 The KSCM is dealt with in detail in Hanley (2001; 2002b) and Holubec (2010). Unless otherwise stated, information is from these sources. 4 Its 2010 membership (c 70,000 of a population of 10.5 million, representing 0.67 per cent) compares with the KPRF (180,000 of 142.9 million, representing 0.13 per cent). The PCRM now has the proportionally most representative membership (30,000 of 3.5 million, 0.86 per cent). 5 Far more detail on the PCRM can be found in March (2005). Unless otherwise noted, information in this section comes from this source. 6 These categories were first used in Urban and Solovei (1997). 7 Http://www.vedomosti.md (accessed 25 May 2005). 8 Http://www.pcrm.md/main/index_md.php?action=news&id=1511 (accessed 8 November 2009). 9 For far more on the KPRF, see Urban and Solovei (1997); Sakwa (1998); March (2002; 2003; 2006). Unless otherwise cited, information in this section comes from these sources. 10 34 per cent of the PCRM were over 60 in 2001, compared with 48 per cent of the KPRF in 2006, and 76.4 per cent of the KSCM in 2008 (e.g. Holubec 2010). 5 Modern democratic socialists or old-style social democrats? 1 The chief ‘right-wing’ social democrats have been ‘third way’ parties such as the UK, Dutch and Norwegian Labour parties, the German SPD and Danish and Portuguese Socialist parties. In other parties such as the French and Walloon Socialist parties, such a rightwards movement has been more ambiguous and less pronounced (cf. Coffé 2008). 2 In the first ‘rainbow government’ the VAS ministers were Minister for Culture, Youth and Sport, and Health and Public Services. In the second, VAS received the post of Second Finance Minister, looking after housing taxation and EU budget policy, and Minister for Municipal and Regional Affairs. 3 SF international secretary, communication with the author, 8 August 2008. Auken’s blog (http://talkbox.dk/auken/index.php?article=5089), indicates that it was the ‘Stalinist’ Czech and Greek communists which she found particularly objectionable.

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4 SF international secretary, 8 August 2008. 5 What is usually translated in English as the Social Liberal party is known in Danish as Det Radikale Venstre, literally ‘Radical Left’, because of its origins as a left-leaning split of the Liberals (literally Venstre, ‘Left’), ‘left’ in this case implying ‘progressive liberal’, not ‘socialist’. 6 Dunphy (2004: 114) notes that the PCP’s long period of illegality (from 1926–1974) and its participation in the near-successful seizure of power in 1974–5 have contributed to its conservatism. 7 Thanks to Richard Dunphy for bringing this to my attention. 8 Personal communication from Christopher Lamont, 3 July 2007. 6 Left-wing populism 1 See http://www.socialistparty.net/; http://www.peoplebeforeprofit.ie/. 2 Not without reason, since before 2005 the West German PDS was a sectarian ‘radical fringe party’ dominated by Maoists, Trotskyists and former German Communist Party members (McKay 2004). 3 The electoral merger occurred in June 2005, when the parties contested the Bundestag elections as the ‘Left Party.PDS’ (Linkspartei.PDS). After the legal merger in June 2007, the party became simply ‘The Left’ (Die Linke), still usually translated as ‘the Left Party’. 4 Such groups include the Trotskyist groups Linksruck (which became Marx 21) and Socialist Alternative – see Lewis (2007). 5 The word was historically used as a euphemism for Zwangsarbeiter, the workers in the Nazi labour camps. 6 For many in the SPD, Lafontaine’s ‘treachery’ has deep roots, beginning when he quit as finance minister in 1999 (in protest against Agenda 2010/Hartz IV and the Kosovo war), joined Attac in 2001 and joined the ‘Monday demonstrations’ against the SPDled government in 2004. For more on his resignation and gradual rapprochement with the PDS, see Lafontaine (2000). 7 Indeed, Marijnissen said ‘I rarely call myself a socialist. I find it too pretentious, but also uncomfortable, because it pigeon-holes me’ (Marijnissen 2007). Socialism for Marijnessen is practical ‘human work’ aimed at emancipation and ‘the raising up of people’. 8 So-called because of the red colours of the PvdA and the blue of the VVD. 9 See http://www.politiekebarometer.nl/. 10 Technically, the Welsh Socialist Alliance was autonomous from the Socialist Alliance. 11 According to SSP convenor Colin Fox (2007), the Socialist Party and SWP ‘didn’t give a shite’ about the SA, and ran it in their own interests. 12 A warrant sale occurred after debt collectors had entered a debtor’s home to ‘poind’ (impound) items, to be sold later publicly under warrant, and was a legal means of collecting debts in Scotland until 2001. 13 Sheridan (2007a) argued that in 2003 for every one vote that the SSP took from Labour, they took two from the SNP, but in 2007 most of this support returned to the SNP, primarily because the SNP, in contrast to 1999 and 2003, had a chance of power. 14 For more, see Emancipation and Liberation 13, 2006 and January 10 2011, The Sunday Herald, 6 August 2006 and 26 December 2010. 15 Solidarity ran in 2010 as part of the Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. 16 According to the party website, PAS is ‘anchored in the history and destiny of the Romanian people’. See http://www.pasro.ro/index.php?ID=11, accessed 2 May 2011. 17 See http://www.slovakradio.sk, 15 October 2006.

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7 Transnational party organizations 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

http://www.kscm.cz/index.asp?thema=3217&category= (accessed 2 May 2011). See http://www.icsbrussels.org/. See http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/. http://www.socialistworld.net/; http://internationalsocialists.org/wordpress/about/. http://www.icmlpo.de/. http://www.anticapitalistleft.org/. The Maastricht treaty’s ‘Party article’ (article 191) and Regulation (EC) No. 2004/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council (which funds Europarties partly from the EP budget) were major catalysts for the formation of Europarties. 8 Interviews in Brussels, February 2011. 9 Ibid.

8 Parties and the wider movement 1 Thanks to Richard Dunphy for this information. 2 Only in the Nordic countries and Belgium have trade unions avoided decline, owing to variants of the Ghent system, whereby trade unions help administer unemployment benefit and insurance. 3 For more on the Ungdomshuset, see ‘The Ungdomshuset movement: squatting in Denmark’. Online. Available HTTP: (accessed 7 May 2011). 4 For the Transform! Network, see http://www.transform-network.net/. 9 Explaining electoral success and failure (with Charlotte Rommerskirchen) 1 Indeed, with 34 countries, our study offers a comparatively complete investigation into the dynamics of RLP success, a feature which ensures higher typicality and eventually maximizes inferential leverage. This approach is analogous to Baysian rationales for diversity of evidence as an important check of causal inference. 2 We exclude social populists with the exception of the left social populists identified in Chapter 6, because only these are even remotely genuinely radical left; other social populists might be expected to appeal to a somewhat broader and different electorate, and to include them could adversely effect the regression analysis. 3 In other words, is anti-EU sentiment fuelled by globalization anxiety, or does globalization anxiety increase with the anti-EU sentiment? 4 The base variable, ANTIEU variable suffers from missing data (particularly for Eastern European countries). We chose to impute missing observations using Amelia II – a multiple imputation programme developed by King et al. (2001). 17 % of values were missing for EU hostility. These values were imputed using a 7 variable dataset covering the period 1989–2008. 5 We would like to include in our analysis a more sophisticated variable (‘redwashing’) to measure how other parties (Greens, RRPs and social democrats) fish for votes among the radical left electorate. One source for a ‘redwashing’ variable could be the Comparative Manifesto Project (Budge et al. 2001), which includes right–left placements based on an extensive quantitative content analysis of parties’ election manifestos. Whilst undoubtedly supplying a huge amount of empirical data on party stances, the CMP does not supply us with an appropriate proxy for our purposes even if we aim at working with one of the best-covered party families, namely social democratic parties. We found a variable measuring the left–right placement of social democratic parties significant neither in our tobit regression nor in a correlation with our electoral success variables. Yet, that does not mean that competition effects are not a determinant

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factor. Instead this begs the question of whether we are really measuring what we wish to measure. The left–right placement of social democratic parties in Europe ranges from –45 to the left to +33.33 to the right (on a scale where –100 is extreme left and +100 is extreme right). But is this ‘pure’ variable really a good proxy for strategic redwashing of these parties? It would be more desirable to have data showing the distance between RLPs and established social democratic parties in their left-right placement. For the 66 elections available this variable ranges from –48 to + 24.78 for RLPs. Particularly because these party scores are extremely heterogeneous such a redefinition seems to be more promising. Data is however not available for a large number of RLPs (it is similarly missing for many RRPs and several Green parties). Moreover the latter score (+24.78) indicates another potential problem with using the CMP data – some RLPs are actually scored as more ‘right’ than the centre-left. This is potentially explicable (perhaps social democrats are moving in on the RLP’s space?) – however, the CMP’s own explanation (idiosyncratic positions based on RLP’s ‘conservative’ support for the status quo) scarcely explains why in some cases RLPs are coded as more right wing even than the centre-right (cf. Klingemann et al. 2006: 22–3). Another option would be to take the difference of the left–right score of the social democratic parties between election years. Yet again due to a lack of data, especially prior to 1990 (to take the difference) this option is closed to us. 10 Conclusion 1 For detailed accounts see Bale and Dunphy (2007) and Olsen et al. (2010). 2 Author’s calculations from http://parlgov.org/stable/index.html and www.parties-andelections.de. 3 For more on the social democratic response to crisis, see for example Internationale Politik und Gesellschaft, 4 2010 at http://fes.de/ipg/sets_d/arc_d.htm.

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Index

Notes: The following abbreviations have been used: t = table; n = note Abdol-Hamid, Asmaa 106 Agrarian Democratic Party of Moldova (ADPM) 81 AKEL see Progressive Party of Working People (Cyprus) Albania 36, 40, 45, 76 Albertazzi, D. 58 Alegre, Manuel 110 All-Workers Militant Front (PAME) 54 Alliance for European Integration (AEI) 85, 86 Andersson, Claes 97, 100 Animal Liberation Front (ALF) 173 anti-capitalism 154, 158, 163, 165, 204, 205; Cyprus 69; Finland 101; France 67; Germany 124, 125; globalization and 6, 9, 168, 172, 176; Italy 57, 60, 108, 116; Netherlands 131; radical left parties and 16, 18; Russia 88, 91; social populism and 19, 119 anti-communism 34, 45, 48, 80, 85, 113 Anti-Nazi League 37, 172 Anticapitalist List 62 ARCI (Italian Cultural and Recreational Association) 168 Arhinmäki, Paavo 102 Arter, D. 96 Arzheimer, K. 183 Association of the Persecuted of the Nazi Regime–League of AntiFascists 172 Association of Workers of Slovakia (ZRS) 142 ATTAC 174, 175, 179 Auken, Margrete 104 Austria 29t, 47

Backes, U. 4, 16 Bale, T. 191 Balkan Meeting of Communist Parties 151 Bartolini, S. 28 Beck, Kurt 127 Belarus 8, 76 Belgium 29t, 36, 38, 47 Bell, D. 11, 69 BePR (Electoral Bloc Fatherland) (Moldova) 146–7t Bertinotti, Fausto 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 205 Besancenot, Olivier 66, 67, 68, 69 Bisky, Lothar 128 Bloco see Left Bloc (Portugal) Bobbio, N. 11 Boliva 204 Bové, José 67 Buffet, Marie-George 67 Bulgaria 28, 40, 75 Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) 45, 112–13, 114, 143, 146–7t Bull, M.J. 70 ‘bureaucratic-authoritarian’ regimes 75, 76–81 Callinicos, A. 210 Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) 172 Canovan, M. 122 capitalism 8–9, 10, 12–13, 16 Carter, E. 183 Carvalho da Silva, Manuel 111 Carvalho de Sousa, Jerónimo 111 CC.OO (Labour Commissions, Spain) 168 CDU (United Democratic Coalition) (Portugal) 111

Index CGTP (General Confederation of Portuguese Workers) 111 Chávez, Hugo 118, 123, 153, 154 Christian democratic party 34, 39 Christofias, Dimitris 71 CILRECO (International Liaison Committee for Reunification and Peace in Korea) 153 Civic Understanding Party (SOP) (Slovakia) 144 coalition governments 1, 96, 99, 127, 144, 207 Coalition of the Left of Movements and Ecology) (Greece) see Synaspismós Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) (Greece) 55, 56 Cohn-Bendit, Daniel 35 Cominform (Communist Information Bureau) 40, 41, 149 Comintern (Communist International) 33, 40, 149, 155 Commonwealth (Hardt and Negri) 177 Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) 170 communism 4, 24–5, 49–50, 200, 212–13; adaptability of 69–71; conservative 17t, 18, 72, 78, 90–3, 198t; Czech Republic 33, 39, 40, 41, 46; demise of the Soviet Union 44–9; democratic socialism and 113–16; Eastern Europe 21, 28, 39, 40, 46, 72–3; electoral performance 79–81, 82, 84–5; France 35, 38–9, 40, 41, 42, 48; Germany 34, 37, 47, 48; influence of Soviet Union 39–41; internal factors hindering reformability 42–4; Italy 34, 38–9, 40, 41, 42, 43; national parliamentary votes for 29–30t; party system 33–8; political institutions and 38–9; reformist 16, 17t, 18, 72, 81, 198t; social democracy and 27, 28, 33–4, 39, 46, 48; support for 28, 33; West Europe 31–2t, 34–5, 39, 41, 47–8, 55–6; working class support of 34–5, 38, 71, 111, 113, 168 Communist Party of Belarus 76, 151 Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM) 21, 72, 91, 93, 114, 123; electoral performance 74t, 92; profile 75, 76–81; reform communism 90; transnational links 151 Communist Party of Bulgaria 45 Communist Party of Czechoslovakia 33

251

Communist Party of Denmark (DKP) 3n, 36, 40 Communist Party of Germany (KPD) (later German Communist Party) 33, 34, 41 Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) 33, 34, 37, 40 Communist Party of Latvia (LKP) 76 Communist Party of Luxembourg (KPL) 3n Communist Party of the Netherlands (CPN) 34, 40, 45 Communist Party of Peru (Shining Path, Sendero Luminoso) 156 Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) 12, 21, 72, 78, 92, 93; electoral performance 74t; populism and 121; profile 86–91; transnational links 151, 154 Communist Party of Slovakia (KSS) 74t Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) 120 Communist Party of Spain (PCE) 42, 44, 45, 59t, 71 Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) 74t, 90, 114, 151, 154, 184 Communist Platform (Germany) 124 Communist Youth of Greece (KNE) 54 Communist Youth Union (KSM) 78–9, 171 Cossutta, Armando 57, 58 ‘counter-culturalism’ 176–7 CPGB see Communist Party of Great Britain CPN see Communist Party of the Netherlands CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union) 120 Crick, B. 11 Croatia 45 Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) 141 ČSSD see Czech Social Democratic Party Cuba 6, 153, 154, 204 Cunhal, Á. 196 Cuperus, R. 122 CWU (Communication Workers’ Union) 170 Cyprus 2t, 8, 59t, 69 Czech Republic 8, 12, 48, 113, 114; communism in 33, 39, 40, 41, 46; electoral performance 2t, 29t, Leninism 72, 78 Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) 33, 77, 79, 80, 91

252

Index

Czechoslovak Communist Party (KSČ) 76–7 Daiber, B. 4 Danish People’s Movement 160 Danish People’s Party 105 De Vries, C.E. 186 Democratic Alternative (DEVA) (Finland) 97, 99 Democratic Front (Greece) 54 Democratic Left Alliance (Poland) 12, 73, 115 Democratic Party (formerly Italian Communist Party (PCI)) 45 Democratic Party (PD) (Italy) 62 Democratic Party (PDM) (Moldova) 85 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 153 democratic socialism 19, 21–2, 94–5, 116–17, 201; communism and 113–16; East Europe 46, 92; electoral performance 100t, 101t; Finland 96–9, 100, 101–2; social democracy and 94, 95; subtypes 17t Denmark 2t, 19, 29t, 95, 102–7 DEVA (Democratic Alternative) (Finland) 97, 99 Diliberto, Oliviero 58 Direction-Social Democracy (Smer-SD) (Slovakia) 144, 146–7t DKP see Communist Party of Denmark DKP see German Communist Party Downs, A. 48 DP see Lithuanian Labour Party Dunphy, R. 9, 97, 101, 191 Duverger, M. 188 EACL see European Anti-Capitalist Left Eaden, J. 33, 39–40 Earth Liberation Front (ELF) 173 Eastern Europe 16, 19, 23; communism in 21, 28, 39, 40, 46, 72–3; conservative communism 90–3; Czech Republic 33; definition 8; definition of left/right 12; democratic socialism 112–16; electoral performance 74t, 140t, 141t; Leninism 73, 75, 91, 116, 205–6; Marxism 73, 75, 82, 88, 91, 114; orthodox communism 73–6; populism 119, 123, 139, 140t, 141t, 142–5; trade unions 170–1; see also under individual countries Ecological Party (PEV) (‘The Greens’) (Portugal) 111

Edwards, E.E. 186 EL see Red-Green Alliance elections and electoral systems 1, 2–3t, 4, 5t, 29–30t, 25; communism and 26, 27, 34, 35, 59t, 74t; Eastern Europe 79–81, 82, 84–5; Italy 60–1; populism and 140t, 141t, 146–7t; Portugal 109; Scotland 135; transnational party organisations 157t Electoral Alternative for Labour and Social Justice (WASG) 124, 125, 126, 128, 170 Electoral Bloc Fatherland (BePR) (Moldova) 146–7t electoral performance 180–1, 200, 206–7; demand-side factors 184, 185t, 186, 187t, 188; determinants of success 183t, 184; external factors 191, 192–3t, 194–5; external supply-side factors 188–91; internal supplyside factors 195–7, 198–9t, 200; quantifying 181, 182t, 183 Empire (Hardt and Negri) 60, 177 ‘end of history’ thesis (Fukuyama) 4, 5, 6, 11, 14 ‘end of ideology’ thesis 11 environmentalism 15, 160, 165, 184, 200, 212; communism and 18; Eastern Europe 92; Green parties 38; ‘new fringe’ 172; ‘new left’ and 94, 95, 97; Western Europe 35, 36, 37, 57, 103, 104 EPP (European People’s Party) 158 Ernst, Klaus 128 ESF see European Social Forum Estonia 2t Estonian Left Party 3n Estonian United Left Party 12, 112 Estonian United People’s Party (EÜRP) 3t, 146–7t ETUC (European Trade Union Confederation) 169 Eurobarometer 184, 186, 187t, 206 ‘Eurocommunism’ 42–3, 44, 49, 92, 96–7; Russia 87; Western Europe 52, 64, 71 Europe Écologie 68 European Anti-Capitalist Left (EACL) 108, 158, 163, 166 European Green Party 212 European Left Party (PEL) 15, 83, 125, 157–8, 178, 212; attitudes towards 80, 203; members of 93, 105, 112; profile 162–6 European People’s Party (EPP) 158

Index European Social Forum (ESF) 174, 175, 177 European Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) 109 European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) 169 European Union (EU) 22, 212; convergence between Eastern and Western Europe 8; as ‘embedded neoliberalism’ 14; support for 186, 187t, 188, 202–3 EÜRP see Estonian United People’s Party Euroscepticism 116, 181, 186, 187t, 202–3, 204; Denmark 103, 104, 105; Finland 98; Germany 128; Netherlands 130, 131, 132; Nordic Green Left 96; populism and 147; Portugal 111 extreme left 17–18t, 65, 66f, 72, 186, 201–2 ‘extremism’ 10–11, 14, 16, 18, 23, 38 EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation) 173 Farakos, Grigoris 52 fascism 40, 41, 43, 48 Federation of the Left (Italy) 62, 63 Ferrero, Paolo 62 Fico, Róbert 144 Filip, Vojtěch 80 Finland 2t, 28, 38, 39, 101; democratic socialism 96–9, 100, 101–2 Finnish Communist Party (SKP) 1, 44, 96, 98 Fisher, S. 141 Florakis, Harilaos 53 Fortuyn, Pim 130, 131 Fourth International (Reunified) (FI) 155–6 Fox, Colin 137, 138, 205 France 6, 16, 28, 33, 67; communism in 35, 38–9, 40, 41, 42, 48; electoral performance 2t, 29t; Greens 67, 68; Leninism 64; Marxism 64; trade unions 170; Trotskyism 66, 77, 121 Franco-Vietnamese Friendship Society 152 Freedom Party (PVV) (Netherlands) 133 French Communist Party (PCF) 21, 33, 35, 40, 43, 197; demise of Soviet Union 44, 48; electoral performance 38–9, 59t; party identity/ policies 51, 63–5, 66f, 67–9, 70; Trotskyism and 37

253

French Section of the Socialist International (SFIO) 33 Front National (FN) (France) 69, 175–6, 210 Fukuyama, F. 4, 5 Fundis (fundamentalists) 13–14, 27 Gallagher, M. 16 Galloway, George 134, 139 Gamble, A. 165 Garavini, Sergio 60 General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (CGTP) 111 German Communist Party (DKP) (formerly Communist Party of Germany (KPD)) 33, 41, 151 Germany 2t, 5, 6, 9, 10, 29t; anticapitalism 124, 125; communism 34, 37, 47, 48; Greens 124, 127, 128; Leninism 125; Marxism 125; populism 123–8; trade unions 170 Ghimpu, Mihai 86 Gibberd, R.W. 188 Giddens, A. 1, 5 Giordano, Franco 61, 62 ‘global justice movement’ (GJM) 6, 15, 60, 150, 207, 213; European Left Party and 162, 163, 212; extreme left and 66; Greece and 54; Latin America and 154; profile 172, 173–5, 176, 177, 178, 179; trade unions and 22, 167, 168, 169 globalization 14, 16, 186, 187; anticapitalism and 6, 9, 168, 172, 176 Golder, M. 181 Gramsci, Antonio 176–7, 178, 213 Grebeníček, Miroslav 79, 80 Greceanii, Zinaida 85 Greece 2t, 11, 28, 29t; communism in 39, 40, 45, 46, 52–6, 69 Greek Communist Party (KKE) 20, 40, 43, 71, 121; conservative communism 69–70, 151, 154, 163, 184; electoral performance 59t; Korea and 153; profile 51–6 Green League (Finland) 100 Green Party (Germany) 13–14 Green Party (UK) 38 Greens 47, 50, 94, 181, 184, 207; Eastern Europe 113; electoral performance 5t, 6, 46, 165, 189; France 67, 68; Germany 124, 127, 128; ideology 37– 8; Italy 62; Nordic countries 95–6 Greens–European Free Alliance 104

254

Index

GroenLinks (GreenLeft) (Netherlands) 38, 45, 104, 129, 132, 133 Grzymała-Busse, A. 48, 196 GU (Unitarian Left) (France) 68 GUE/NGL see United European Left/ Nordic Green Left Gysi, Gregor 24, 126, 197 Hands off Venezuela! 154 Hanley, D. 158 Hardt, M. 60, 177 Harmel, R. 188, 197 Havel, Václav 80 HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) 141 Hildebrandt, C. 4, 10 Holloway, J. 177 Hooghe, L. 186 Hudson, K. 4, 5–6, 71, 156–7, 172 Hue, Robert 64, 65, 67 Hug, S. 188 Hungarian Socialist Party 73, 112 Hungarian Workers’ Party (Munkáspárt) 76, 194 Hungary 33, 40, 41, 46 HZDS (Movement for a Democratic Slovakia) 141, 144 Iceland 2t, 8, 19, 29t, 36, 95 ICFTU (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions) 168, 169 Indymedia 174 IMCWP (International Meetings of Communist and Workers’ Parties) 151 Inglehart, R. 184 International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) 168, 169 International Conference of MarxistLeninist Parties and Organizations 156 International Liaison Committee for Reunification and Peace in Korea (CILRECO) 153 International Meetings of Communist and Workers’ Parties (IMCWP) 151 International Socialist Movement 135 International Socialist Tendency (IST) 156 International Socialists 135 International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) 170 intra-party power balance 27, 196–7 Ireland 121, 160 Ishiyama, J.T. 48, 196 IST (International Socialist Tendency) 156 Italian Communist Party (PCI) (later Democratic Party) 3n, 9, 34, 39, 42,

43; demise of Soviet Union and 44, 45, 47, 50 Italy 6, 28, 47, 56–8, 60–3; anticapitalism 57, 60, 108, 116; communism in 34, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43; electoral performance 2t, 30t, 31t; trade unions 170; Trotskyism 57, 58, 61 ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation) 170 IU (United Left, Spain) 156 Jackman, R. 183 Janda, K. 197 Jobbik (Hungary) 145, 148 Jospin, Lionel 64, 65 JUL (Yugoslav Left) 76 Juquin, Pierre 63 Kane, Rosie 137, 138 Kant, Agnes 133 Kazin, M. 118 Keynesianism 94, 95, 96, 116, 130, 205 Kitschelt, H. 73, 75, 196 KKE see Greek Communist Party Knutsen, O. 11–12 Korhonen, Martti 101, 102 KNE (Communist Youth of Greece) 54 KPD see Communist Party of Germany KPL (Communist Party of Luxembourg) 3n KPRF see Communist Party of the Russian Federation KPU see Communist Party of Ukraine KSČ (Czechoslovak Communist Party) 76–7 KSČM see Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia KSM (Communist Youth Union) 78–9 KSS see Communist Party of Slovakia Laakso, Jaako 99 Labour Party (DP) (Lithuania) 144, 145, 146–7t Labour Party (UK) 33, 38, 94, 134, 170, 205; ‘third way’ 5; Trotskyism 37 Laclau, Ernesto 120 Lafontaine, Oskar 24, 126, 127, 128 Lajoinie, André 64 Labour Commissions (Spain) (CC. OO) 168 LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally) (Greece) 56, 210 Larsen, Aksel 36, 102, 103

Index Latin America 6, 122, 123, 139, 204, 213; party-to-regime bilateralism 152, 153–4; social populism 140, 141 Latvia 2t Socialist Party of Latvia (LSP) 46, 74t, 160, 211 Latvian Unity Party (LVP) 142, 146–7t Laurent, Pierre 68 Lazar, M. 51–2, 64 LCR (Ligue communiste révolutionaire) 66, 161 Le Pen, Marine 69 Left Alliance (VAS) (Finland) 19, 21, 44, 45, 95, 116; populism and 121; transnational organisations 164, 170 Left Bloc (BE/Bloco) (Portugal) 18, 21, 45, 116, 193, 213; conservatism 69; ‘new left issues’ 184; profile of 95, 107–12 Left, Ecology, Liberty (SEL) (Italy) 62, 63 Left Front (France) 68 Left-Green Movement (VG) (Iceland) 95, 211 Left and Liberty coalition (SL) (Italy) 62 Left Party (LP) (Germany) 9, 10, 16, 22, 45, 194; electoral performance 140t, 141t; populist socialism 118, 119; profile 123–8 Left Party (PG) (France) 68 Left Socialist Party (SV) (Norway) 95, 96 Leninism 12–13, 42–3, 46, 47, 48, 53; Czech Republic 72, 78; Eastern Europe 73, 75, 91, 116, 205–6; France 64; Germany 125; Greece 69; Moldova 82, 83; Russia 88 Liberal Democratic Party (Moldova) 86 Liberal Democratic Party of Russia 141 Liberal–Christian Democrat–LPF Balkenende I cabinet (Neths) 131–2 Ligue communiste révolutionaire (LCR) 66, 161 Lijphart, A. 188 Lisbon Treaty 101–2, 106, 175 List Pim Fortuyn (LPF) (Netherlands) 131 Lithuania 46 Livingstone, Ken 153 LKP (Communist Party of Latvia) 76 Lötzsch, Gesine 128 Louçã, Francisco 108, 110, 197 LP see German Left Party LSP see Latvian Socialist Party L’Unione coalition (Italy) 60, 61, 62, 63 L’upták, Ján 142 Lupu, Marian 85, 86

255

Lutte ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle) 66 Luxembourg 2t, 30t Luxemburg, Rosa 33, 42, 178 LVP see Latvian Unity Party Maastricht Treaty (1992) 103, 156, 158 Mackie, T.T. 25 Maeda, K. 181 Maoism 20, 36, 45, 55, 57, 105; international organizations 155, 156; Netherlands 128–9 Marchais, Georges 63, 64, 65, 196 Marijnissen, Jan 6, 129, 130, 132, 133 Marxism 41, 42, 43, 46, 47, 201; Czech Republic 72, 78; democratic socialism and 113, 116; Denmark 103; Eastern Europe 73, 75, 82, 88, 91, 114; France 64; Germany 125; Greece 52, 53, 69; Netherlands 129; populism and 145; radicalism and 9; Scandinavia 36; Scotland 135–6; ‘traditionalist’ 16; transnational party organisations and 149 Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany 156 Mattila, M. 181 Meijer, Erik 129 Mélenchon, Jean-Luc 68 Militant Tendency (UK) 37 Moldova 2t, 8, 46, 72, 81–6, 146–7t Mollet, Guy 39 Morales, Evo 118 Moreau, P. 4, 16 Moschonas, G. 14 Motherland (Rodina) (Russia) 143–4, 146–7t Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) 141, 144 Mudde, C. 9, 120, 181, 197 Müller-Rommel, F. 26 Multitude (Hardt and Negri) 177 Narodniki (Russia) 120 NATO 10, 80, 98, 99, 151, 163; bombing of Yugoslavia 65, 154, 157; opposition to 53, 78, 96, 124, 131, 202; positive attitude to 54, 106, 107, 130, 205 Negri, A. 60, 177 NELF see New European Left Forum neo-liberalism 10, 96, 121, 205, 208–9, 210 Netherlands 2t, 30t, 36, 128–33 New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA) (France) 66, 68–9, 121 New Communist International 153, 155

256

Index

New European Left Forum (NELF) 71, 125, 156, 162 ‘new fringe’ 172–8 ‘new left’ 18, 38, 43, 44, 50, 95; democratic socialism 19; East Europe 46, 92; environmentalism 94, 95, 97; Nordic countries 43, 44, 95, 102–7; origins of 35–6, 50; Western Europe 47, 52, 67, 108 ‘niche parties’ 4, 5t Nielsen, Holger 106 non-party organizations 167, 168–72, 179 Nordic Green Left Alliance (NGLA) 165 Nordic Green Left (NGL) see United European Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/ NGL) Nordic States 95–6; ‘new left’ 43, 44, 95, 102–7 Norway 2t, 19, 30t, 95, 170 NPA see New Anti-Capitalist Party (France) Olsen, J. 27 PAME (All-Workers Militant Front) 54 Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) 52, 54–5, 56, 94, 122, 146–7t Papariga, Aleka 53, 197 Paroubek, Jiří 80 Party of Communist Refoundation (PRC/ Rifondazione) (Italy) 51, 155, 178, 196, 197, 209–10; communist identity 69, 70; electoral performance 59t, 194; Keynesian policies 205; profile 56–8, 60–3 Party of Communists of Belarus 76 Party of the Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) 21, 72, 76, 151, 213; conservatism 78, 90, 91, 92; electoral performance 74t, 191, 207, 209; Europe 204; profile 81–6 Party of Democratic Socialism (Czech Republic) 112 Party of European Socialists (PES) 114, 158 Party of Italian Communists (PdCI) 57–8, 62 party success 25, 180, 26–8 PAS (Socialist Alliance, Romania) 112, 143 PASOK see Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement ‘patrimonial communism’ 75, 82 PCE see Communist Party of Spain

PCF see French Communist Party PCI see Italian Communist Party (PCI) (later Democratic Party) PCP (Portuguese Communist Party) 59t PCRM see Party of the Communists of the Republic of Moldova PCS (Sammarinese Communist Party) (San Marino) 3n PD (Democratic Party) (Italy) 62 PdCI see Party of Italian Communists PDM (Democratic Party) (Moldova) 85 PDSR see Social Democratic Party of Romania PEL see European Left Party People Before Profit Alliance (Ireland) 121 People’s Alliance (AB) (Iceland) 3n, 42, 96 People’s Democratic League (SKDL) (Finland) 3t, 97, 99 People’s Democratic Union (Portugal) 107 People’s Republic of China 152 PES see Party of European Socialists PEV (Ecological Party) (‘The Greens’) (Portugal) 111 PG (Left Party) (France) 68 Poland 30t, 33, 40, 46 ‘polder model’ 131 Polish Labour Party (PPP) 171 Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR) 47 Politics XXI (Portugal) 107 Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) (Greece) 56, 210 populism 118, 146–7t, 148, 201; definition of 119–23; Eastern Europe 119, 123, 139, 140t, 141t, 142–5; Germany 123–8; Netherlands 128–33; Scotland 133–9; Western Europe 122, 148 populist socialist 17t, 19, 22, 38, 198t, 210 Portugal 2t, 39, 40, 43, 107–12 Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) 69, 111, 121, 153, 163; electoral performance 59t; failings of 107, 108 PRC see Party of Communist Refoundation (Rifondazione) (Italy) Prodi, Romano 60–1 Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL) (Cyprus) 45, 161, 168, 213; adaptability 50; electoral performance 42, 47, 59t, 70–1, 207, 209 Progressive Socialist Party (PSPU) (Ukraine) 142 Przeworski, A. 13

Index PS see Socialist Party of Albania PS see Socialist Party (Portugal) PSD see Social Democratic Party (Portugal) PSR (Revolutionary Socialist Party) (Portugal) 107 P-SOL (Socialism and Freedom Party) (Brazil) 154 Putin, Vladimir 88, 89, 92 PVV (Freedom Party) (Netherlands) 133 radical left parties (RLP): categorizing 15–16, 17–18t, 19–20; contemporary dilemmas of 12–15; de-radicalization of 203–6; definition of 7–12; direct policy impact of 207, 208t, 209–11; electoral performance 5t; ‘identity’ versus ‘efficacy’ 13–14; ideological and strategic convergences 201–3; ideological subtypes 197, 198–9t; party goals 199–200 radical right parties (RRPs) 1, 4, 6, 9, 94, 212; electoral performance 5t Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) 170 ‘rainbow coalitions’ 62, 59t, 99, 197 ‘Rainbow Left, The’ (SA) (Italy) 62 Ramelow, Bodo 127 Raunio, T. 181 RCS (Sammarinese Communist Refoundation) (San Marino) 59t Realos (realists) 13–14, 15, 19, 38 Red Army Faction (Germany) 36 Red Brigades (Italy) 36 Red–Green Alliance (EL) (Denmark) 45, 105–6, 107, 108, 176 ‘red–green’ parties 16, 45, 97, 104, 111, 127 reformist communism 17t, 18, 72, 81, 198t Renton, D. 33, 39–40 Respect–The Unity Coalition (UK) 134, 139, 140t, 141t, 176 Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) 156 Rifondazione see Party of Communist Refoundation (PRC) (Italy) right-wing populism 121 Robertson, J.D. 188 Roemer, Emile 133 Romania 30t, 40, 45, 75 Rood (Red) 171 Rosa Luxemburg Foundation 178 Rose, R. 25

257

RMT (Rail Maritime and Transport Union) 170 Rubiks, Alfreds 76 Russia 2t, 11, 46, 72, 86–90 RV (Social Liberal party) (Denmark) 105 S see Social Democratic Party (Denmark) SA (‘The Rainbow Left’) (Italy) 62 SA (Socialist Alliance) (UK) 134 Sammarinese Communist Party (PCS) (San Marino) 3n Sammarinese Communist Refoundation (RCS) (San Marino) 59t San Marino 2t Sartori, G. 16 Sassoon, D. 5, 11, 41 Scandinavia 36, 47 Scargill, Arthur 135 Schyman, Gudrun 197 Scotland 2t, 16, 133–9 Scottish Militant Labour (SML) 133–4 Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) 16, 22, 45, 119, 194, 205; electoral performance 140t, 141t, 191; profile 133–9 Seattle G8 summit (1999) 6 SED (Socialist Unity Party) (East Germany) 24 SEL (Left, Ecology, Liberty) (Italy) 62, 63 Self-Defence movement (Samoobrona) (Poland) 143, 146–7t Semigin, Gennadii 89 Serbia 75, 175 Serbian Radical Party 141, 143 Serbian Socialist Party (SPS) 12, 45, 46, 76, 114, 143; electoral performance 146–7t SF see Socialist People’s Party (Denmark) SFIO (French Section of the Socialist International) 33 Sheridan, Tommy 119, 134, 135, 136, 137–9, 153 Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) (Communist Party of Peru) 156 SI see Socialist International Sierpien 80 (trade union) 171 Siimes, Suvi-Anne 97, 98–9 Sinn Féin 146–7t, 161 SKDL see People’s Democratic League (Finland) SKP see Finnish Communist Party SKP–KPSS (Union of Communist Parties–Communist Party of the Soviet Union) 83, 155

258

Index

SL (Left and Liberty coalition) (Italy) 62 Slovak National Party (SNS) 142, 144 Slovakia 2t, 48 SLP (Socialist Labour Party) (UK) 135 SML (Scottish Militant Labour) 133–4 SNP see Socialist People’s Party of Montenegro social democracy 16, 23, 26, 207, 209, 211–12; communism and 27, 28, 33–4, 39, 46, 48; democratic socialists and 94, 95 Social Democratic Party of Croatia 114 Social Democratic Party (S) (Denmark) 104–5, 106 Social Democratic Party (PSD) (Portugal) 109, 110, 112 Social Democratic Party of Romania (PSD, formerly PDSR) 45, 113, 114, 143 Social Democratic Party (SPD) (Germany) 5, 124, 16, 24, 33, 34 Social Liberal party (RV) 105 social populism 22, 54, 75, 119, 200, 203–4; definition 19; electoral performance 17–18t, 146–7t, 199t; Latin America 140, 141 Socialism and Freedom Party (P-SOL) (Brazil) 154 Socialist Alliance (PAS) (Romania) 112, 143 Socialist Alliance (SA) (UK) 134 Socialist International (SI) 113, 114, 115–16, 141 Socialist Labour Party (Romania) 143 Socialist Labour Party (SLP) (UK) 135 Socialist Party of Albania (PS) 143, 146–7t Socialist Party of Ireland 121, 211 Socialist Party of Latvia (LSP) 76 Socialist Party (Netherlands) 45 Socialist Party (PS) (Portugal) 108, 109, 110, 111–12 Socialist Party (SP) (France) 64, 65, 66, 213 Socialist Party (SP) (Netherlands) 119, 135, 151, 191, 194, 195; electoral performance 140t, 141t; profile 128–33 Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU) 19, 21, 95, 115, 146–7t Socialist People’s Party of Montenegro (SNP) 143, 146–7t Socialist People’s Party (SF) (Denmark) 21, 36, 95, 96, 116, 184; electoral performance 104, 105; profile 102–7

Socialist Republic of Vietnam 152 Socialist Unity Party (SED) (East Germany) 24 Socialist Workers 135 Socialist Worker’s Party (UK) 135 Sócrates, José 111, 112 Solidarity: Scotland’s Socialist Movement 138–9, 140t, 141t Solidarity Network 151 SOP (Civic Understanding Party) (Slovakia) 144 Sousa, Alda 112 Soviet Union (Former) 73, 75; communism as ‘fifth column’ 34; influence on communism 39–41; trade unions 170–1 Søvndal, Villy 106–7 SP see Socialist Party (Netherlands) SP see Socialist Party (France) Spain 2t, 30t, 38, 39, 44 SPD see Social Democratic Party (Germany) Sprague, J. 13 SPS see Serbian Socialist Party SPU see Socialist Party of Ukraine SSP see Scottish Socialist Party Stalinism 20, 25, 36, 40, 41, 44; Greece 53; Russia 87 Steinmeier, Frank-Walter 127 Stevaert, Steve 153 Striethorst, A. 10 Strøm, K. 25 subcultures 167, 172–8, 179 SV (Left Socialist Party, Norway) 95, 96 Svensson, Eva-Britt 161 Svoboda, Jiří 77 Sweden 2t, 30t, 36, 170 Swedish Left Party-Communists (VPK) 19, 34, 95 Switzerland 30t, 47 SWP (Socialist Workers Party) (UK) 37 Synaspismós (SYN)(Coalition of the Left of Movements and Ecology) (Greece) 45, 52–3, 55 SYRIZA see Coalition of the Radical Left Tannahill, R.N. 28, 33 ‘Teamsters and Turtles’ 169 Thatcher, Margaret 6 ‘third way’ 11, 36, 42, 94, 122, 205; Labour Party (UK) and 5 Thorning-Schmidt, Helle 106 trade unions 66, 77, 111, 168, 177, 178–9; revitalisation of 169–71

Index ‘Transform!’ network 178, 213 transformation theory (Inglehart) 184 transnational party organizations 149–50, 165–6, 202; emergence of European left integration 156, 157t–8, 160–5; 170; multilateral forums 155–6; party-toparty bilateralism/regionalism 150–2; party-to-regime bilateralism 152–5 Trotskyism 16, 18, 20, 36–7, 41, 43; France 66, 77, 121; Greece 52, 55; Ireland 121; Italy 57, 58, 61; transnational party organisations 155–6, 177 Revolutionary Socialist Party (PSR) (Portugal) 107 True Finns 102, 148, 210 Turigliatto, Franco 62 Turkey 8 Učeň, P. 144 Socialist Workers Party (SWP) (UK) 37 Ukraine 2t, 46, 72, 175 Ungdomshuset (Youth House) 171–2 Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) 156 Union of Communist Parties–Communist Party of the Soviet Union (SKP– KPSS) 83, 155 Unitarian Left (GU) (France) 68 United Democratic Coalition (CDU) (Portugal) 111 United European Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) 104, 122, 130, 136, 178, 213; Europeanization 96, 165–6; profile 158–62 United Kingdom 2t, 5, 29t, 37, 38, 47 United Left (IU) (Spain) 156 United States (US) 6 Urban, G. 42 ‘vacuum thesis’ 5–6, 189 van Apeldoorn, B. 14 VAS see Left Alliance (Finland) Vendola, Nichi 62, 63 Venezuela 153–4, 204 Venezuela Solidarity Campaign 154 VG (Left-Green Movement, Iceland) 95 Viialainen, Matti 98 Vitrenko, Nataliya 142 Voerman, G. 130

259

Volpert, K. 183 Voronin, Vladimir 81, 82–3, 84, 85, 86, 197 VPK see Swedish Left Party-Communists WASG see Electoral Alternative for Labour and Social Justice ‘Washington Consensus’ 6, 16, 141, 168 Western Europe 8, 12, 13, 16, 21; communism 31–2t, 34–5, 39, 41, 47–8, 55–6; democratic socialist parties 21–2; electoral performance 31–2t, 59t; environmentalism 35, 36, 37, 57, 103, 104; ‘Eurocommunism’ 52, 64, 71; ‘new left’ 47, 52, 67, 108; populism 122, 148; see also under individual countries What is to be Done? (Lenin) 12–13 Wilders Group 176 Workers’ International (CWI) 156 Workers’ Party of Belgium (Parti du Travail de Belgique) 153, 176 working class, support of communism 34–5, 38, 71, 111, 113, 168 World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) 168, 170 World Social Forum 108, 154, 174, 175, 176, 177 World Socialist Web Site 155 World Values Survey (WVS) 184, 185t Yeltsin, President 87, 88, 89 Young Communist Movement of France (Mouvement Jeunes Communistes de France) 171 Young Communists (Giovani Comunisti) 171 Youth Against Racism 172 Yugoslav Left (JUL) 76 Yugoslavia 28, 40, 48, 60, 143; NATO bombing of 65, 154, 157; electoral performance 30t Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) 173 Zimmer, Gabi 126 ZRS (Association of Workers of Slovakia) 142 Zyuganov, Gennadii 87, 88–9, 90, 153, 197