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I can't comment on Spanish history, but for me Wilson's resignation marks the end of the post-war ascent of the Left.

Callaghan's appalling term led directly to Thatcher, and now here we are, some thirty years later.

Carter's hostage-crisis set-up was also a very calculated and deliberate election fixer for Reagan, and even though entirely treasonous it worked perfectly.

I'm not suggesting Callaghan was a plant or that Wilson was a perfect shining example of the British Left.

But Wilson was the last PM who could seriously be considered even slightly on the Left, if only because he had more than a token reluctant interest in running the economy in a way that distributed wealth rather than concentrating it.

Since then power has been shared between the far-right and the centre-right, both of whom have been happy to continue with tax cuts, deregulation, privatisation, and wealth concentration.

As I said above, there has been no democractic choice about this, and no formal or organised democratic opposition to it.

I suppose you could argue that this reflects what the public wants. But I don't think the public is really all that enthusiastic about cuts in health care, affordable housing, or public transport. And the only reason it hasn't given oppressive white collar working practices a firm thumbs down is because there's an endless drumbeat of pro-market 'the economy needs...' which has made alternatives unthinkable.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Aug 3rd, 2007 at 01:16:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
History does not operate on the scale of mere mortals men.

What's important is that because society is a living breathing thing greater than its constituent parts, and not like the mechanistic conception put forward by classical liberals, things have a way of working out on their own.

It's Polayni's double movement, the problem is that these things take time.  It may take 50-60 years for events to reach a breaking point at which the continuation of the neo-liberal status quo is unsustainable.

We seem to be rushing towards that point, but there hasn't yet be a traumatic break.  A Great Depression scale event that creates a period of uncertainty as the old solutions are shown ineffective.  So in order to instill certainty, new ideas are needed. And once those ideas provide stability, they become entrenched, because challenging them means introducing uncertainty back into the system.  

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Aug 3rd, 2007 at 01:30:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The "movement" has to be implemented in actual demands, organisations, politicians, and mere mortals... History doesn't work without the people, you Hegelian !

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Aug 3rd, 2007 at 04:47:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is history determined by structure, or have we the agency to change its course by force of will?

I think we are awash in the currents of history, and the belief that through agenct we may change its course is naive.

As much as we impose the futile forms our philosophy grants us on what we see, we still remain blissfully ignorant as Plato's men in the cave supposing that the forms we derive are in some way truth.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Aug 3rd, 2007 at 05:03:11 PM EST
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What is then this structure, but human beings?

I think we have limited tools to think about thousand, million or indeed billion agents. This leeds to simplified stories of either the "world leaders" wrestling it out - Churchill vs. Hitler, Bush vs. bin Laden - or giving agency to groups of people and viewing them as one person - England vs. Germany, US vs. UUSR, Republican party vs. Democrat party, CocaCola vs. Pepsi. Neither gives us tools to understand how we change the world, but we do, all the time. The world change, and it is the actions of people that makes the changes.

I think what is needed is tools to see our own actions in the larger picture. We do not need to be persons of power to affect change, indeed we do it all the time. To choose for ourselves what change we will affect, we need to see and evaluate our own positions and possibilities in the structures. And then act accordingly.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Aug 5th, 2007 at 04:30:32 PM EST
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