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Syriza and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, while different and set in different national contexts, can each be usefully understood as responses to the 2008 financial crisis, and the subsequent questioning of the neoliberal consensus. Most importantly, they each highlight the urgent need to leave behind the neoliberal turn embraced by most social-democratic parties in the 1990s – including Britain’s New Labour and Greece’s Pasok (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) – and to
find a left alternative that is appropriate for the twenty-first century. Both New Labour and Pasok gave in to the governing logic of neoliberalism when they were in power: they moved away from traditional social-democratic measures, glorified individualism and abandoned collectivism; and they embraced laissez faire economics, deregulation and privatisation. But neither party had anything approaching an adequate response to the financial crisis, and this left voters in both countries searching for alternatives. Any successful alternative to the neoliberal consensus will have to be based on the forging of creative links between grassroots initiatives and new (or transformed) political parties, so that they can work together to win elections and secure transnational alliances. These issues have been, and will be, addressed differently in the Greek and British national contexts. Here I focus on three main areas where a comparison may be
useful: the question of how to reconnect politically with ‘the people’ in a context of post-democracy; the nature of relationships between movements and parties; and the negotiations of each country with the EU.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Corbyn Effect
Subtitle of host publicationAnd Labour's Existential Crisis.
EditorsMark Perryman
Place of Publicationlondon
PublisherLawrence & Wishart Ltd
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781912064687
ISBN (Print)1912064685
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2017

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