By Ed. Birgit Daiber, 2009 2010
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Extra resources for The Left in Government: Latin America and Europe compared
In other words, revolutions occur when a society can no longer evolve only in “reformist” manner. Hence there is continuity, but also rupture between the “reformist” moments and the “revolutionary” moments in the evolution of a society. Revolution cannot exist without reform; but precisely because reforms are no longer sufficient there is revolution. Also, a crucial factor for the transformation from reform to revolution is inherent in the combination of the disposition to fight of the dominated classes and the resistance of the dominant classes.
This has not been the case in most European countries over the last twenty or thirty years. There have been ebbs and flows of social movements and trade union struggles in many coun- 86 87 tries, but strong, lasting movements with well developed class consciousness and long-term perspectives have been in short supply. Another problem parties seem to have is that of standing with one leg in the government and the other outside it, as the French Communist Party proclaimed it was doing when it joined the so-called plural left government of Lionel Jospin in 1997.
Ramsay MacDonald ended tragically. But the issue – to accept or to refuse being part of a government that you do not control; to accept it, not for trivial reasons, but because it is the only way one can prevent the right from taking over – is a central dilemma for the left. It was so at the beginning of the century, when Millerand was expelled from the Socialist International for having accepted participation in a bourgeois government; it remained a forbidden choice long after, becoming a law of social democracy.
The Left in Government: Latin America and Europe compared by Ed. Birgit Daiber, 2009 2010