Global Left is changing

In the slew of bad news coming out of European economies, readers can be forgiven if they missed a couple of good news. While relatively sound economies like Germany and Poland have started showing signs of slowdown, as the bad apples, Italy, Spain and Greece, show no signs of recovery; Ireland and Iceland have come up with alternative treatments that have stunned the world. Discarding the capitalistic and liberal economic measures, both the countries took some stringent measures and have bounced back. Ireland is expected to post a growth rate of 1.8 percent whereas Iceland is expected to grow at 2.4 percent.

So what is the remedy? Some stringent Leftist policies. Unlike the US and other economies where corporate giants and banks were bailed out when common people suffered from raised taxes and austerity measures, Iceland did exactly the opposite. It paid off loans for consumers and threw bankers in jail for corruption. Let homeowners wipe out debt up to 110 percent of the property value. It is not only declared loans indexed in foreign currency illegal and allowed middle-class debtors to pay back in its local currency, it went after the bankers responsible for the collapse and brought them to book. So, what appeared as a vicious cycle in other nations was effectively managed by the Icelanders.

321Ireland too took some stringent steps. In contrast to the neighbouring Britain where an ‘export led recovery’ was grossly undermined by the chauvinistic view that people in developing countries were desperate to purchase British goods because of the so-called inherent prestige, the Irish held no such pretensions and instead adopted the basic comparative advantage road towards recovery. Who says Global Left is dead?

If European examples are unbelievable, the experiment in Latin America has shown miraculous results. The personal charisma of leaders like Hugo Chavez, Lula and Evo Morales, and their experiment with enlightened Socialism has borne results that are undeniable and incomparable. Even if you compare some basic indices in these countries to the pre-socialism days, the contrast is stark. And the best part of it all that it has been achieved without capitulating financially or politically to the First World. So what is it that has led to this revival?

First, unlike the Left in India, the Global Left has not been shy in reinventing itself and its message. There appears to be little appetite for dogma and every country has adopted the local ethos in the message of Socialism. So, for example, an ardent Communist in Latin America can be a regular Church-goer. The idea is neither to get stuck up with dogma neither  to let religion rule one’s senses. As long as it is in the private sphere, it is ok. This has helped Left parties expand their base.

Even in France where the Socialist Party won the election, the leader Francois Hollande tried to achieve maximum maneuverability that can be achieved within the European Union system and managed to send the message to the masses that an alternative economic system is possible.

Sadly, when it comes to India, the Left parties have not been able to do away with basic dogmas. It can start doing so by first combining the front by merging all the mainstream Left parties who believe in the parliamentary democracy system. It has been achieved brilliantly in Venezuela and Bolivia with good results and there is no reason why CPI, CPM, CPI (ML) and others cannot cast their differences aside.