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Left Populism in Europe
Lessons from Jeremy Corbyn to Podemos
Marina Prentoulis
Pluto Press, 2021
While the right is harnessing populist rhetoric to great effect, the left's attempts have been much less successful. The Syriza government in Greece and Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party in Britain have both failed to change the neoliberal status quo and introduce democratic socialism in their countries. Other movements however, like the Spanish party Podemos, have seen greater gains and are now in government in Spain. In this book, Marina Prentoulis evaluates the transformational process of left populism across grassroots, national and European levels and asks what we can do to better harness the power of broad-based, popular left politics. Bringing a wealth of experience in political organizing, she argues that left populism is a political logic that brings together isolated demands against a common enemy with an egalitarian pluralism that could transform economic and political institutions in a radical democratic direction. But each party does this differently, and the key to understanding where to go from here lies in a serious analysis of the roots of each movement's base, the forms of party organization, and the particular national contexts. Avoiding reductive terms like 'pasokification', this is a clear and holistic approach to left populism that will inform anyone wanting to understand and move forward positively in a bleak time for the Left in Europe.

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The Left Unraveled
Social Democracy & the New Left Challenge in Britain & West Germany
Thomas A. Koelble
Duke University Press, 1991
In the early 1980s both the British Labour Party and the West German Social Democrats (SPD), confronted with serious internal challenges from the political left, experienced an erosion of support that resulted in the emergence of new political parties—the British Social Democratic Party and the West German Green Party. Explicitly comparative, this study presents a theoretically innovative analysis while offering a sophisticated understanding of the political confrontations between social democrats, the new left, traditional socialists, and trade unionists in both Britain and West Germany.
By focusing on the established parties rather than on external developments, Koelble departs from conventional methodology regarding the fortunes of political parties. In examining the fundamental processes of decision making and coalition building within the SPD and the Labour Party, he argues that it is the organizational structures within parties that shape political results by setting limits, creating opportunities, and determining strategies.

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Leftism Reinvented
Western Parties from Socialism to Neoliberalism
Stephanie L. Mudge
Harvard University Press, 2018

Left-leaning political parties play an important role as representatives of the poor and disempowered. They once did so by promising protections from the forces of capital and the market’s tendencies to produce inequality. But in the 1990s they gave up on protection, asking voters to adapt to a market-driven world. Meanwhile, new, extreme parties began to promise economic protections of their own—albeit in an angry, anti-immigrant tone.

To better understand today’s strange new political world, Stephanie L. Mudge’s Leftism Reinvented analyzes the history of the Swedish and German Social Democrats, the British Labour Party, and the American Democratic Party. Breaking with an assumption that parties simply respond to forces beyond their control, Mudge argues that left parties’ changing promises expressed the worldviews of different kinds of experts. To understand how left parties speak, we have to understand the people who speak for them.

Leftism Reinvented shows how Keynesian economists came to speak for left parties by the early 1960s. These economists saw their task in terms of discretionary, politically-sensitive economic management. But in the 1980s a new kind of economist, who viewed the advancement of markets as left parties’ main task, came to the fore. Meanwhile, as voters’ loyalties to left parties waned, professional strategists were called upon to “spin” party messages. Ultimately, left parties undermined themselves, leaving a representative vacuum in their wake. Leftism Reinvented raises new questions about the roles and responsibilities of left parties—and their experts—in politics today.


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A Leftist Ontology
Beyond Relativism and Identity Politics
Carsten Strathausen
University of Minnesota Press, 2009

A new ontology for a globalized world

Rich with analyses of concepts from deconstruction, systems theory, and post-Marxism, with critiques of fundamentalist thought and the war on terror, this volume argues for developing a philosophy of being in order to overcome the quandary of postmodern relativism. Undergirding the contributions are the premises that ontology is a vital concept for philosophy today, that an acceptable leftist ontology must avoid the kind of identity politics that has dominated recent cultural studies, and that a new ontology must be situated within global capitalism.

A Leftist Ontology offers a timely intervention in political philosophy, featuring some of the leading voices of our time.Contributors: Bruno Bosteels, Cornell U; Christopher Breu, Illinois State U; Nicholas Brown, U of Illinois at Chicago; Sorin Radu Cucu, Manhattan College; George Edmondson, Dartmouth College; Eva Geulen, U of Bonn; Philip Goldstein, U of Delaware; Klaus Mladek, Dartmouth College; Alberto Moreiras, U of Aberdeen; Jeffrey T. Nealon, Pennsylvania State U; William Rasch, Indiana U; Ben Robinson, Indiana U; Imre Szeman, McMaster U; Roland Vegso, U of Tennessee, Knoxville.

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Lenin Reloaded
Toward a Politics of Truth, sic vii
Sebastian Budgen, Stathis Kouvelakis, and Slavoj Žižek, eds.
Duke University Press, 2007
Lenin Reloaded is a rallying call by some of the world’s leading Marxist intellectuals for renewed attention to the significance of Vladimir Lenin. The volume’s editors explain that it was Lenin who made Karl Marx’s thought explicitly political, who extended it beyond the confines of Europe, who put it into practice. They contend that a focus on Lenin is urgently needed now, when global capitalism appears to be the only game in town, the liberal-democratic system seems to have been settled on as the optimal political organization of society, and it has become easier to imagine the end of the world than a modest change in the mode of production. Lenin retooled Marx’s thought for specific historical conditions in 1914, and Lenin Reloaded urges a reinvention of the revolutionary project for the present. Such a project would be Leninist in its commitment to action based on truth and its acceptance of the consequences that follow from action.

These essays, some of which are appearing in English for the first time, bring Lenin face-to-face with the problems of today, including war, imperialism, the imperative to build an intelligentsia of wage earners, the need to embrace the achievements of bourgeois society and modernity, and the widespread failure of social democracy. Lenin Reloaded demonstrates that truth and partisanship are not mutually exclusive as is often suggested. Quite the opposite—in the present, truth can be articulated only from a thoroughly partisan position.

Contributors. Kevin B. Anderson, Alain Badiou, Etienne Balibar, Daniel Bensaïd, Sebastian Budgen, Alex Callinicos, Terry Eagleton, Fredric Jameson, Stathis Kouvelakis, Georges Labica, Sylvain Lazarus, Jean-Jacques Lecercle, Lars T. Lih, Domenico Losurdo, Savas Michael-Matsas, Antonio Negri, Alan Shandro, Slavoj Žižek


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Leon Trotsky
Writings in Exile
Leon Trotsky
Pluto Press, 2012

Leon Trotsky was a key political figure of the twentieth century – a leader of the Russian Revolution, founder of the Red Army, author of books on literature, history, morality and politics.

Leon Trotsky: Writings in Exile contains some of his most insightful and penetrating works. Exiled and isolated by Stalin, Trotsky used the only weapon he had left – words. In these writings he defends the 1917 revolution, warns prophetically of fascism and analyses anti-colonial movements in the global south.

This collection gives a sense of the real Trotsky – passionate, humanist, Marxist. It will introduce the writings of one of history's great revolutionaries to a new generation.


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Limits and Possibilities
The Crisis of Yugoslav Socialism and State Socialist Systems
Bogdan Denitch
University of Minnesota Press, 1990

Limits and Possibilities was first published in 1990. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

The nature of the Eastern European Socialist state and its potential for transformation without sacrificing its specific identity is the subject of extensive current debate. Limits and Possibilities is the first book to be written that deals conceptually and historically with the myriad kinds of change a state might undergo. Bogdon Denitch has chosen the Yugoslavian model to frame his analysis because it initiated these "modernizing" changes in the 1960s and can therefore provide a case study of the limits of reforms possible in Communist regimes. In using the Yugoslav case paradigmatically, the volume addresses in a more general sense the issues of decentralization, autonomy for nonparty and nonstate institutions, multi-ethnicity, new social movements, including the "greens," and the role of women and women's movements.


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Lithuanian Social Democracy in Perspective, 1893-1914
Leonas Sabaliunas
Duke University Press, 1990
Lithuanian Social Democracy in Perspective is the first book in any Western language on Lithuanian Social Democracy. In this work Leonas Sabaliunas studies the conflict between and convergence of socialism and nationalism in pre-1914 Lithuania. He analyzes the interplay of ideological priorities by observing the operations of Marxist political parties, emphasizing the origins, development, and achievements of the Social Democratic Party of Lithuania.
But Sabaliunas also considers such partners and rivals as the Jewish Bund, the Polish Socialist Party, the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania, and the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. He focuses on the appearance of socialist parties at the local level, the politics of assertive behavior during the Russian Revolution of 1905–1906, the nature of interparty relations, and efforts to promote party unity. In particular, he investigates the projected relationship between Russia and its subject nationalities—a cardinal concern today as the Baltic peoples attempt to distance themselves from their Russian neighbors.
Sabaliunas clarifies current massive Lithuanian opposition to Moscow and to its version of socialism. He stresses that in Lithuania the socialist movement from the beginning not only sought solutions to social and economic problems but also addressed issues of ethnic and national interest, especially the question of national sovereignty.

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Living Ideology in Cuba
Socialism in Principle and Practice
Katherine A. Gordy
University of Michigan Press, 2015
In Living Ideology in Cuba, Katherine Gordy demonstrates how the Cuban state and its people engage in an ongoing negotiation that produces a “living ideology.” In contrast to official slogans and fiats, Cuba’s living ideology is a decentralized phenomenon, continually adapting, informing, and responding to daily life, without losing sight of the fundamental national principles of socioeconomic equality, unified leadership, and inclusive nationalism.

Tracing Cuba’s ideological history, Gordy first looks at the ways in which the 19th century wars of independence and the 1959 revolution were used as the basis for both challenging and legitimizing Cuban socialism. Following the embrace of a pure socialist ideology in the 1960s, state policies of the 1970s became more accommodating of market imperatives, while still holding on to the principles articulated by Che Guevara and Karl Marx. In the 1990s, the Cuban people themselves pushed back against further economic reforms, reasserting the value of socioeconomic equality. Gordy also examines ideological debates among intellectuals, from the controversy sparked by Fidel Castro’s “Words to the Intellectuals” speech to the demand in the 1990s for a separation between academia and the state—not to safeguard academia from politics, but to ensure that academics as such could contribute to the political dialogue.

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Long Road to Harpers Ferry
The Rise of the First American Left
Mark A. Lause
Pluto Press, 2018
This is the first comprehensive history of pre–Civil War American radicalism, mapping the journeys of the land reformers, Jacksonian radicals, and militant abolitionists who paved the way to the failed slave revolt at Harpers Ferry in 1859.
            Offering new and fascinating insights into the cast of characters who created a homegrown socialist movement in America—from Thomas Paine’s revolution to Robert Owen’s utopianism, and from Thomas Skidmore’s agrarianism to George Henry Evans’s industrial workers’ reforms—Long Road to Harpers Ferry captures the spirit of the times. Showing how class solidarity and consciousness became more important to a generation of workers than notions of American citizenship, the book offers a fascinating historical background to help us understand the rise of radicalism in the United States today.

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Lost Comrades
Socialists of the Front Generation, 1918–1945
Dan S. White
Harvard University Press, 1992

The concept of generation as a historical category has never been used more effectively than in Lost Comrades. The socialists of the Front Generation, young men in 1914, were driven into political activity and ideological exploration by the experience of the First World War. Their efforts to renew socialism, to carry it beyond Marxism and beyond the working class, were profound and original, yet ultimately they failed.

Lost Comrades follows the Front Generation socialists from their questioning of Marxist orthodoxies in the 1920s into their confrontations with the twin challenges of fascism and world depression in the early 1930s. Responding to these dangers, they devised—with little success—counterpropaganda against the fascists and planning blueprints for the economy. Eventually, some of the most prominent—Sir Oswald Mosley in Britain, Hendrik de Man in Belgium, Marcel Déat in France—shifted their hopes to fascism or, during the Second World War, to collaborationism in Hitler’s Europe. Others, however, like Carlo Mierendorff and Theodor Haubach in Germany, ended as martyrs in the anti-Nazi resistance. Yet even these divergent paths showed parallels reflecting their common starting point.

In tracing these unfulfilled careers, Dan S. White brings a new clarity to the hopes and limitations of European socialism between the two world wars.


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