Friday, 7 June 2013
The Question of Strategy
At a time of deep crisis across a number of overlapping fields – economic, imperial and ecological – the question of strategy demands urgent and persuasive answers. Yet the crisis of the system has not automatically generated a convincing response from the left. Indeed it is often suggested that the crisis of the system is matched by a crisis of the left. The multiple crises of capitalism, matched by the difficulties faced by the contemporary left in responding to them, are the background to this new, wide-ranging volume of nineteen essays.
Socialist Register began in the early 1960s as part of the post-1956 New Left. Every year there is a fresh volume, always with a theme, drawing together diverse contributions from an international range of socialist writers and activists. This review is an essay divided into two parts over two weeks: the material in Socialist Register’s 2013 volume demands a serious and considered response. Rather than attempting to summarise every contribution, however, I pay fairly detailed attention to several very stimulating contributions in particular. These engage directly with the question of strategy for the radical left in the ‘old capitalist heartlands’ of Europe and North America.
Three aspects are in the foreground here: protest movements (specifically Occupy and anti-austerity), left-wing electoral parties, and the revolutionary left. The relationship between these different elements is of fundamental importance if we are both to develop a successful strategy for defeating austerity and to create a new left capable of leading a challenge to the entire system.
Read Part 1 of my 2-part review essay on 'Socialist Register 2013: The Question of Strategy' HERE. Part 2 will be published on Counterfire next Friday.