The internationalist consensus amongst social democrats is broken. By understanding the inherent tensions between global governance, national self-determination and democracy, social democrats can find new legitimation for an internationalism coherent with national welfare solidarity.
The recent financial crisis has not inspired confidence in our political leaders’ ability to deliver global justice. On the contrary. In North and South America and in Europe a large majority of the population feels that even though states have successfully saved the banking system, bankers are now renewing risky practices in pursuit of profits and awarding themselves enormous bonuses. This has occured against the longer term backdrop of a huge increase in the gap between the wealthiest 0.1% of the population and the middle class over the last 30 years..
The world has just experienced the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. Over 80 million jobs were lost worldwide. The United Nations estimates that as many as 145 million more people are living in poverty. Scores of countries have emerged from the crisis with weakened financial systems and huge public debts. These nations may be condemned to slow growth and insufficient job creation for years to come.
For the first time in history, the mainstream left has no progressive agenda. It has forgotten a basic principle. Every progressive political movement has been built on the anger, needs and aspirations of the emerging major class. Today that class is the precariat.