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Author Topic: For fellow Socialists/Social Democrats in the world  (Read 2038 times)
Peter the Lefty
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« on: June 10, 2012, 12:13:57 am »
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This is a bizarre topic, but for those of my left-of-center comrades who are also upset as I am to see so many of the world's democratic socialist/social democratic parties become right-wing neoliberal, pro-austerity parties, please share your opinions on what each of them need to do, or what has to happen to them if they are to return to their roots, or if they they're hopeless.  Below, I have a list of the parties with social democratic inclinations who have become neoliberal as of late along with my thoughts on them.  Let me know if I forgot any.

UK Labour Party: Needs to loose the Blairites, which will be a long, drawn-out process.  Since they appear to have embraced austerity, they'll need a major revolt at the next party conference against the leadership's policies.  It also needs more people like Jon Cruddas in the shadow cabinet, in higher positions, and it needs to scrap the Blairites in the Shadow Cabinet, starting with Liam Byrne and Caroline Flint, then Steven Twigg, the Eagle twins, Tessa Jowell, and most of the rest of the older ones leaving, being replaced, hopefully, by people like Jon Cruddas, Stella Creasy (who didn't/doesn't support the New Labour project, I hear), Lisa Nandy, Rushanara Ali, etc., and later, more authentic left-wingers like John Cryer, Jeremy Corbyn, etc.  It'll need another term in opposition, frankly, and will need a new, reinvigorated leadership with true left-wing values.  Hopefully, Stella Creasy will be the next leader.  And it can't let that Blairite Rachel Reeves get anywhere!  I realize it's unlikely.

Germany SPD: An even bigger change than Labour would need.  The SPD must reconnect with its true social democratic values, and commit to reversing the Agenda 2010 laws, and raising the taxes on the wealthy to the 53% rate that existed before Schroder cut them, possibly even higher.  And this is impossible with the SPD as it currently is.  So, most of the Seeheimer Kreis and Netwerk Berlin factions will have to leave and start a new, centrist party that could become the CDU's new natural coalition partner.  Then, the faction of die Linke that came from the SPD could rejoin it.  Everyone wins!  Except die Linke, but they've been on the verge of splitting for a while.  But overall, all of this is about as likely to happen as Texas is to legalize gay marriage.

Italian PD: Must split.  Not like it's not waiting to happen anyway.  The centrists/liberals can leave and start a new party, and the PD might wanna merge with SEL, to be honest.  

PASOK: Forget it.  They're hopeless.  SYRIZA is the new main left-wing Greek party.  

Irish Labour Party: I'm tempted to say that it's hopeless, but who knows.  Maybe they'll have a huge leadership shake-up, but I'm guessing they'll be surpassed as the main left-wing party at the next election by Sinn Fein.  They'll be consighned to the dustbin of history.  Since the party's grassroots didn't rise up at the last conference over the policies they're pursuing in government, I doubt they ever will.  So, goodbye Labour, you will be drubbed at the next election, and quite deservedly, too.

PSOE: Needs completely new leadership from people who had no role in the last government.  Which is unlikely at this point.  So, if there is to be a true, non-communist party of the left in Spain, it will probably  have to be formed by the Indignados movement.  

Portuguese Socialist Party: Dunno.  They'll need to totally renounce the last government and remove the crooks who participated in it from positions of importance.  

Australian Labor Party: They'll have to loose the 2013 election to Tony Abbot by a landslide so that all of the major right-wingers in the party who will be angling for the leadership (like Wayne Swan) don't get a chance.  They'll need a leader from the real left, not the phony left.  I'm hoping for Tanya Pliserbek.  

New Zealand Labour Party: I've heard news that Shearer might get the knife soon.  If so, they ought to have a true social democrat replace him.  I'm for David Cunliffe.  

I'm sure there are a few I forgot.  And yeah, my signature reflects a lot of this.  What do you guys think?
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2012, 12:37:44 am »
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I see you've given up completely on the U.S. Democratic Party.  Tongue
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2012, 12:56:48 am »
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Any comment on NDP, or, as most people, you are reserving your judgement for later?
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2012, 01:11:47 am »
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The NDP is led by a former Liberal and the Liberals are led by a former NDPer. So I see the Liberals heading to the left to attract NDP support and the NDP folks heading to the centre to garner more widespread appeal. Basically, unless there's a merger, they're both screwed. Either way, the NDP will lose some of the character it once had (I'm using that term lightly Tongue).
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2012, 01:14:20 am »
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I would say than Liberals are heading nowhere now. Some forces push on a side (Young Liberals), some others in the other side (Scott Brison). We will only be sure when the permanant leader will be installed.
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2012, 01:38:04 am »
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I see you've given up completely on the U.S. Democratic Party.  Tongue
A Paultard like takeover is the only possibility Imo. For Dippers they shouldn't have elected Mulcair right?
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2012, 02:09:34 am »
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I see you've given up completely on the U.S. Democratic Party.  Tongue
A Paultard like takeover is the only possibility Imo. For Dippers they shouldn't have elected Mulcair right?

Well, the choice was between someone ideological, but of unsure electability or someone electable, but who might try to bring the party more in the center.

It's too soon to have a judgement on Mulcair.
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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2012, 02:35:41 am »
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I don't know the situation of each party in detail, but most political leaders need to do a single thing : wake up. For three decades, left-wing leaders have gradually abandoned any kind of principled position in order to embrace a vague and pseudo-pragmatist aproach. It's as if they had forgot the even reason why they existed : establishing a just society, regulating the excesses of capitalism, ensuring that every people, regardless of its gender, ethnicity or economic situation, are entitled certain inalienable rights. All this was dropped in the name of "efficiency", with the idea that politics weren't anymore about choosing between alternative visions of society, but about choosing the most "competent" manager of a pre-established and fundamentally unalterable system. In some way, they have made theirs Thatcher's "there is no alternative". The reasons they did are multiple and it would take lots of time to detail them, but the consequences are disastrous, as shown by the left's electoral and cultural decline throughout the West. They have allowed neoliberalism to reach an almost absolute cultural hegemony, and have proven unable to even counter the reactionary "reforms" enacted by the right. Even worse, they have let the working class down and allowed it to fall in the arms of populist and xenophobic parties, thus weakening the left's electoral base even more.

What they need to do now ? Just to look back at the past decades, see what went wrong, and stop doing the same mistakes all over again.
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« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2012, 03:47:32 am »
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I don't know the situation of each party in detail, but most political leaders need to do a single thing : wake up. For three decades, left-wing leaders have gradually abandoned any kind of principled position in order to embrace a vague and pseudo-pragmatist aproach. It's as if they had forgot the even reason why they existed : establishing a just society, regulating the excesses of capitalism, ensuring that every people, regardless of its gender, ethnicity or economic situation, are entitled certain inalienable rights. All this was dropped in the name of "efficiency", with the idea that politics weren't anymore about choosing between alternative visions of society, but about choosing the most "competent" manager of a pre-established and fundamentally unalterable system. In some way, they have made theirs Thatcher's "there is no alternative". The reasons they did are multiple and it would take lots of time to detail them, but the consequences are disastrous, as shown by the left's electoral and cultural decline throughout the West. They have allowed neoliberalism to reach an almost absolute cultural hegemony, and have proven unable to even counter the reactionary "reforms" enacted by the right. Even worse, they have let the working class down and allowed it to fall in the arms of populist and xenophobic parties, thus weakening the left's electoral base even more.

What they need to do now ? Just to look back at the past decades, see what went wrong, and stop doing the same mistakes all over again.

It would be very interesting if you tried. Globalization and the fear that businesses and capital just move if you irritate the corporate interests play an important part, but its more complex than that.

I agree the phenomenon is going on all over the Western world.
The "inevitability" dynamic is strange. In Denmark we have a SD and a Democratic Socialist party (SPP) normally pushing them from the left. Now both parties are in government allied with a Liberal party and follw an austerity course without much (open) criticism from the supposedly left wing SPP.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2012, 04:25:52 am by 中国共产党=criminals »Logged

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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2012, 03:47:45 am »
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Germany SPD: An even bigger change than Labour would need.  The SPD must reconnect with its true social democratic values, and commit to reversing the Agenda 2010 laws, and raising the taxes on the wealthy to the 53% rate that existed before Schroder cut them, possibly even higher.  And this is impossible with the SPD as it currently is.  So, most of the Seeheimer Kreis and Netwerk Berlin factions will have to leave and start a new, centrist party that could become the CDU's new natural coalition partner.  Then, the faction of die Linke that came from the SPD could rejoin it.  Everyone wins!  Except die Linke, but they've been on the verge of splitting for a while.  But overall, all of this is about as likely to happen as Texas is to legalize gay marriage.
Far less so. The Seeheimer Kreis would serve no purpose whatsoever if they weren't in the SPD.
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I may conceivably reconsider.

Knowing me it's more likely than not.
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2012, 04:02:53 am »
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I don't know the situation of each party in detail, but most political leaders need to do a single thing : wake up. For three decades, left-wing leaders have gradually abandoned any kind of principled position in order to embrace a vague and pseudo-pragmatist aproach. It's as if they had forgot the even reason why they existed : establishing a just society, regulating the excesses of capitalism, ensuring that every people, regardless of its gender, ethnicity or economic situation, are entitled certain inalienable rights. All this was dropped in the name of "efficiency", with the idea that politics weren't anymore about choosing between alternative visions of society, but about choosing the most "competent" manager of a pre-established and fundamentally unalterable system. In some way, they have made theirs Thatcher's "there is no alternative". The reasons they did are multiple and it would take lots of time to detail them, but the consequences are disastrous, as shown by the left's electoral and cultural decline throughout the West. They have allowed neoliberalism to reach an almost absolute cultural hegemony, and have proven unable to even counter the reactionary "reforms" enacted by the right. Even worse, they have let the working class down and allowed it to fall in the arms of populist and xenophobic parties, thus weakening the left's electoral base even more.

What they need to do now ? Just to look back at the past decades, see what went wrong, and stop doing the same mistakes all over again.

It would be very interesting if you tried. Globalization and the fear that businesses and capital just move if you irritate the corporate interests plays an important part, but its more complex than that.

I agree the phenomenon is going on all over the Western world. The "inevitability" dynamic is strange. In Denmark we have had an SD and a Democratic Socialist party (SSP) pushing them from the left. Now both parties are in government allied with a Liberal party and follws an austerity course without much (open) criticism from the supposedly left wing SSP.

Globalization and the resulting loss of faith in the primacy of politics is one of the main explanation, of course. Another very important one is that many left parties believe that adopting left-wing policy planks would make them unelectable, and thus tend to base their campaign on the "triangulation" principle. This is, however, an awfully counterproductive strategy, since it makes the entire political landscape shift toward the right, making right-wing parties more and more extremist (just look at the evolution of republicans before and after the election of Clinton and Obama) and further delegitimates left-wing ideas, leading left-wingers to "triangulate" again, etc... Basically, left-wing politicians have forgotten than the role of politicians is to shape the public opinion, not to adapt their views to the (perceived) median voter.
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2012, 07:57:51 am »
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UK Labour Party: Needs to loose the Blairites, which will be a long, drawn-out process.  Since they appear to have embraced austerity, they'll need a major revolt at the next party conference against the leadership's policies.

Because that sort of behavior ended so very well when it was tried in the past (and on more than one occasion as well), right?

Anyways, the leadership doesn't support the government's economic policies; the furthest its gone in that general direction has been to say that they won't be able to reverse everything this government has done, which is obviously true (though when that was said, it was said in a rather less than entirely clear way).

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It'll need another term in opposition, frankly,

Labour's voters quite clearly don't.

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And it can't let that Blairite Rachel Reeves get anywhere!

I'm not entirely sure what a 'Blairite' even is these days, but Reeves certainly isn't one of them. She's a fairly traditional Labour right-winger, of the sort that often end up as Leeds MPs.
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« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2012, 08:02:55 am »
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Another very important one is that many left parties believe that adopting left-wing policy planks would make them unelectable, and thus tend to base their campaign on the "triangulation" principle. This is, however, an awfully counterproductive strategy, since it makes the entire political landscape shift toward the right, making right-wing parties more and more extremist

Cart before horse, unfortunately.
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Peter the Lefty
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« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2012, 08:08:36 am »
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I see you've given up completely on the U.S. Democratic Party.  Tongue
Oh no.  The U.S. Democrats never were social democratic by any stretch of the imagination.  With the US, I'm pondering if it'll be possible to start a new, social democratic party.  But that's fodder for a thread of its own.
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Peter the Lefty
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« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2012, 08:15:20 am »
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Any comment on NDP, or, as most people, you are reserving your judgement for later?
Well, I'd like to see Mulcair focus on income enequality more, but he's just started, so idk.  I hope he actually agrees to taxing the rich, because I'm still a having trouble comprehending his statement that it would put off potentiall voters (it's not like the rich would vote NDP anyway).  With Nash as Finance critic, I hope she kicks his ass over it.  Frankly, though, it isn't the federal NDP I'm upset with.  I should've put this up there, but it's really the Nova Scotia that I'm upset with, because they're governing like small-c conservatives at this point.  I hope there's a grassroots uprising at the next convention there.  They need a total change in leadership. 
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Peter the Lefty
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« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2012, 08:29:25 am »
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UK Labour Party: Needs to loose the Blairites, which will be a long, drawn-out process.  Since they appear to have embraced austerity, they'll need a major revolt at the next party conference against the leadership's policies.

Because that sort of behavior ended so very well when it was tried in the past (and on more than one occasion as well), right?

Anyways, the leadership doesn't support the government's economic policies; the furthest its gone in that general direction has been to say that they won't be able to reverse everything this government has done, which is obviously true (though when that was said, it was said in a rather less than entirely clear way).

Quote
It'll need another term in opposition, frankly,

Labour's voters quite clearly don't.

Quote
And it can't let that Blairite Rachel Reeves get anywhere!

I'm not entirely sure what a 'Blairite' even is these days, but Reeves certainly isn't one of them. She's a fairly traditional Labour right-winger, of the sort that often end up as Leeds MPs.
Ed Balls has said that he can't guarantee that any cut will be reversed, and that he'd keep the wage freeze on public sector workers.  And frankly, Labour can't call itself socialist or social democratic if it's going to follow that course.  So yes, there needs to be a conference in which the members force the party's leadership to follow their ideology.  And yes, it's bad to have the party look inwards at a time like this, but it's the only way for it to reconnect with the values that once defined it.  And Reeves is part of the Blairite "Progress" group, isn't she?  Anyway, perhaps Blairite was the wrong word.  She's right-wing, talks too much about "fiscal credibility" (while subscribing to the Tory definition of credibility, which is cuts), and therefore, she must be stopped. 
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« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2012, 08:59:23 am »
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Wait wait wait, you think it's is preferable to have Tony Abbott in power on the off chance that the ALP ends up being lead by someone from the left left faction, therefore ensuring that even Tony Abbott could conceivably be re-elected?

"Lesser-evil" politics is rarely a good thing, but when the debate involves Tony “…Jesus didn’t say yes to everyone. I mean Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it is not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.” Abbott.

----------

Oh, and three more quotes:

"Mr Speaker, we have a bizarre double standard; a bizarre double standard in this country where some-one who kills a pregnant woman’s baby is guilty of murder, but a woman who aborts an unborn baby is simply exercising choice."

” I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak”

"I think it would be impossible to have a good general education without at least some serious familiarity with the Bible and with the teachings of Christianity."
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« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2012, 09:36:09 am »
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PSOE: Needs completely new leadership from people who had no role in the last government.  Which is unlikely at this point.  So, if there is to be a true, non-communist party of the left in Spain, it will probably  have to be formed by the Indignados movement.  

Indignados will never form any sort of political party, that´s not the aim of the 15-M movement. Anyway some people who have been involved seat in the Parliament right now; this is the case of Alberto Garzón, a young economist member of ATTAC and IU (United Left) MP for Málaga.

PSOE needs a complete renewal, indeed, but this is not easy to achieve. In the last party`s Congress the contesting candidates were former ministers. Rubalcaba won; he is very competent but had a protagonic role (Deputy Prime Minister) with Zapatero and had posts with Felipe González. Sometimes I think that people in Spain is too enthusiastic throwing experienced politicians to the waste bin but, well, maybe Rubalcaba is not the best suited person for future challenges. Nowadays I can only regard the young Basque MP Eduardo Madina but perhaps it`s too soon for him.  
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« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2012, 10:50:36 am »
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Any comment on NDP, or, as most people, you are reserving your judgement for later?
Well, I'd like to see Mulcair focus on income enequality more, but he's just started, so idk.  I hope he actually agrees to taxing the rich, because I'm still a having trouble comprehending his statement that it would put off potentiall voters (it's not like the rich would vote NDP anyway).  With Nash as Finance critic, I hope she kicks his ass over it.  Frankly, though, it isn't the federal NDP I'm upset with.  I should've put this up there, but it's really the Nova Scotia that I'm upset with, because they're governing like small-c conservatives at this point.  I hope there's a grassroots uprising at the next convention there.  They need a total change in leadership. 

The real problem for the NSNDP is the scandals which have led Premier Dexter to somehow become the least popular Premier in the country (even worse than Clark, McGuinty and Charest!). Dexter governing in a fiscally prudent way is what's necessary for Nova Scotia after previous reckless spending by Liberal and PC governments.
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« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2012, 03:53:49 pm »
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I'm confident things will swing back in our direction... the main issue is how it'll happen, which at the moment is a real puzzle.
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« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2012, 06:06:43 pm »
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I've said it before but I can't say I'm confident whatsoever. I don't know about elsewhere, but I think the Progress lot have a pretty firm grip on UK Labour, and no conference will reverse that. I suspect it's to the extent where leftists will get screened out and never make it to MPs (ensuring the few remaining from a bygone era won't get enough nominations to stand), whether it's the will of the party bosses (undoubtedly) or whether it's that leftists don't bother with Labour anymore, coupled with the decreasing party membership gives the right-wingers overwhelming power...either way, they amount to the same thing - right hegemony, and even when there's an upset (see Ed beating Dave) there's nothing much to worry about and very little change in direction. It's not just the cuts that Labour are back-peddling/accepting - from what I can gather they're accepting the NHS reforms and free schools with a few adjustments these days too.

At least here I don't see anything but a vote for the-least-sh**ttest (who'll do nothing but triangulate the right) for the foreseeable future.
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« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2012, 05:06:28 am »
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PSOE: Needs completely new leadership from people who had no role in the last government.  Which is unlikely at this point.  So, if there is to be a true, non-communist party of the left in Spain, it will probably  have to be formed by the Indignados movement. 

Indignados will never form any sort of political party, that´s not the aim of the 15-M movement. Anyway some people who have been involved seats in the Parliament right now; this is the case of Alberto Garzón, a young economist member of ATTAC and IU (United Left) MP for Málaga.

PSOE needs a complete renewal, indeed, but this is not easy to achieve. In the last party`s Congress the contesting candidates were former ministers. Rubalcaba won; he is very competent but had a protagonic role (Deputy Prime Minister) with Zapatero and had posts with Felipe González. Sometimes I think that people in Spain is too enthusiastic throwing experienced politicians to the waste bin but, well, maybe Rubalcaba is not the best suited person for future challenges. Nowadays I can only regard the young Basque MP Eduardo Madina but perhaps it`s too soon for him. 

And, considering that PSOE is polling at 28% or probably more (that'd be a good percentage in other European countries, not in Spain, but it's still almost 1/3 of the voters) and has 140 years of History, I think it's a silly statement to say the 15-M will create a new party which will outplace PSOE. Of course, we need a renewal, but it's already happening in many villages, towns, communities... where we've elected new leaders.
Talking about Rubalcaba, he may not be the future of our party, and he may lose in 2015, but I find him to be the most competent politician around there... I believe Patxi Lopez, no matter if he loses or wins next year, will be our candidate in 2019 in the case we don't win in 2015.
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« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2012, 07:21:29 am »
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Patxi López is not a bad guy nor incompetent but I don`t see him as a leader for Spanish socialists. They need someone who looks in the long term (just the opposite of Zapatero) and with a clear vision of future. He`s lehendakari (Basque Country PM) now but he will lose election next year because of the nationalist wave after the end of ETA activities (Rubalcaba have played an essential role here). Really, not a bad guy but in my opinion he´s not the best option.
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« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2012, 07:58:06 pm »
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As if the GMB were reading:

http://labourlist.org/2012/06/the-gmb-and-progress-what-happened-and-what-might-happen-next/


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« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2012, 08:55:46 pm »
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I always love it when people playing factional games accuse factional enemies of factionalism. I wonder whether there will be similar calls to censure (say) the Grassroots Alliance.

I suspect it's to the extent where leftists will get screened out and never make it to MPs (ensuring the few remaining from a bygone era won't get enough nominations to stand), whether it's the will of the party bosses (undoubtedly) or whether it's that leftists don't bother with Labour anymore, coupled with the decreasing party membership gives the right-wingers overwhelming power...either way, they amount to the same thing - right hegemony, and even when there's an upset (see Ed beating Dave) there's nothing much to worry about and very little change in direction.

You mean it will be a return to the 1950s?
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