by features of the social-democratic state. So dominant an ideology is
socialdemocracy that it is now almost to impossible to imagine that
a modern state could be shaped by any other beliefs.
A reformist and moderate version of socialism that accepts a significant
proportion of market capitalism, rather than seeking its outright
profound effect on parties
and protest groups alike. For Hardt and Negri, social movements today
represent a fundamental break with the past. Traditional distinctions
between economics and politics are dissolving as conflicts take on a wider
‘biopolitical’ dimension and each struggle ‘leaps to a global level’ (Hardt
and Negri, 2000, 56). Certainly, as we shall see below, it is true that
groups setting out to address specific concerns are increasingly being
drawn into wider struggles, while the decline of socialdemocracy gives
an intensely political dimension to the
twenty-first century. The Right has to fight
for power on the ground laid by the Third Way – responding to
the Third Way agenda to make its way back, just as the Third Way
itself was built on the ground left by ‘old’ socialdemocracy and the New Right. In Britain, for instance, the
Conservative Party’s attempt to return to power after New
Labour’s 1997 victory was at first based
peculiarities of historical processes as they are recorded in
the complexities of historical evidence.
Unless indicated, the place of publication is London.
Adelman, P. (1972) The Rise of the Labour Party, 1880–1945
Bealey, F. and Pelling, H. (1958) Labour and Politics, 1900–1906. A History of the Labour Representation Committee
Black, L. (1999) ‘Socialdemocracy as a way of life: fellowship and the Socialist Union,
1951–9’, Twentieth Century British History, 10:4
Chun, L. (1993) The British New Left, Edinburgh
Alastair J. Reid
Class cultures, the trade unions and the Labour Party
institutions of the State,
including its ‘ideological apparatus’. ‘Outside the realm of social services or nationalized industries the visitor would not have observed a socialdemocracy’, with the
result that the political settlement of 1945 depended on the physical survival of the
industrial working class, rather than the diffusion within civil society of socialdemocracy as an ideology (1998: 535–6).
If our understanding of a party cannot fail to depend on our understanding of the
social classes which form its main constituency, Labour history must be
, London , Demos .
Frazer , E. ( 1999 ) Problems of
Communitarian Politics: Unity and Conflict , Oxford , Clarendon
Giddens , A. ( 1997 ) ‘ Anomie of the
people ’, Guardian , 31 July .
Giddens , A. ( 1998 ) The Third Way: The
Renewal of SocialDemocracy , Cambridge , Polity
claims made for it. Policy considerations, while acquiring the label
‘pragmatic’ or even ‘common-sense’, can be
ideological in their underlying assumptions, in a sense that is associated
with socialdemocracy. From the wartime coalition government until the early
1980s all the major parties, both in and out of government, largely agreed
on the basics of government policy. These included the following:
a commitment to full
from democratic socialism and socialdemocracy as to be worth studying as
distinct ideological movements.
The collapse of the USSR and its
empire in Eastern Europe during 1989–91 is often hailed by Western
conservatives as vindicating their belief that Marxism is a failed
ideological system, unrealistic and of no value as a political movement or
an ideological tool. However, for many Western Marxists the demise of the
democratization in International Political Economy tend to
pit the kind of neomedievalist, fragmentation-of-governance
thesis presented above against what is often seen to be the
more idealist ‘cosmopolitan democracy’ thesis (Archibugi
and Held 1995). There is also a third position – that the
ability of states to reconstruct governmentality is still strong
and that socialdemocracy can be reconstituted along more
familiar statist lines by incorporating some neoliberal features (Hirst and Thompson 1999; Giddens 1998). Nevertheless, the task of globalizing the
of a capitalist project to exploit the working classes; in the
late 1980s, when Jacques Delors led the European Commission, there was a shift towards seeing it as a potential source
of socialdemocracy; and now, although the mainstream
of the Labour Party remains relatively pro-European, the
EU’s failure to develop its competences in social policy has
triggered a return to Euroscepticism on the left.
The way forward: towards deliberative democracy?
There are of course various positions taken about the way
forward. Communitarians often argue that EU