There has been a certain rapprochement between the American and European lefts over the past several years—a rapprochement in weakness and uncertainty, perhaps, but one marked also by a recognition of common interests and values, and common problems, too. One sign of this new sense of commonality is the enthusiasm with which European leftists, including left intellectuals who were once anti-American by reflex, greeted Bill Clinton’s election. His issues, they discovered, were also theirs, and they hoped to gain impetus from his success. No doubt, this hope represents a considerable comedown from the transformative visions of the past. Social democracy is the only practical leftism that survives in European politics today, just as some kind of left liberalism is the only practical leftism in contemporary America. These two indeed have much in common, and so it follows that the internal critique of their inadequacies should also be a shared enterprise.
A lesser sign of rapprochement, then, is the new interest in Dissent on the left, so to speak, of the European left. For this internal critique has been our enterprise for many years, and it has led us to fashion a debate about market socialism, welfare, nationalism and ethnicity, liberalism, and civil society at a time when many European leftists were still constrained in their discussion of such topics by longstanding political commitments and doctrinal orthodoxies....
For just $19.95 a year, get access to new issues and decades' worth of archives on our site.
Print + Online
For $29.95 a year, get new issues delivered to your door and access to our full online archives.