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I do agree that Third Wayers are the problem, but that's the point

No, that's a simplification. In the strict sense, only Bliar, Brown and Schröder are third-wayists. However, they inspired Prodi (who, lest you forget, failed to curb media monopolies, but executed a lot of 'reforms' in the name of budgetary discipline for the introduction of the Euro -- even if the end result was still much more welfare state than in Britain), Sócrates, Almunia, Zapatero (at least initially when he even praised Bliar, and arguably all the way until he dumped Almunia), and a couple of others (especially in the new EU member states) who never declared themselves Third Wayist, or even claimed they aren't, based on some differences. And the Third Wayists were also the logical continuation, with only minor steps forward, of the 'reform'-ism/defeatism in the face of neoliberalism signified by leaders like Göran Persson, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, Wim Kok, Massimo D'Alema, and Felipe González. Jospin was the left-most of the whole bunch of Socialists dominating the EU at the end of the nineties -- and the successors in opposition seem to have made up for the distance. So the problem is really wide, deep and long-running.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 09:50:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, but isn't that because, other than Jospin then (and look at how much flak the French socialists have taken for the 35-hour week and similar policies) nobody fought the notion that the Third Way was the only possible route for socialists, and thus that the only "reasonable" socialists were third wayists - ie precisely the move I described above.

Either be Third way, or be labelled an extremist, a dinosaur (or both, or worse, French).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 09:54:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but isn't that because, other than Jospin then ...  nobody fought the notion that the Third Way was the only possible route for socialists

  1. Wouldn't that be a problem with the Socialists (too)?

  2. As I said, Kok, González, Persson, Rasmussen preceded the birth of the "Third Way" (1997).


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 10:07:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Poul "Ribus" Rasmussen was a Clintonite. I don't remember what Clinton called himself, but I think of him as the prototypical "third-wayer." Or in my less charitable moments as "a jingoist sellout."

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 07:59:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clinton was indeed the prototypical Third Wayist, but I did not mention him as he grew out of liberals rather than socialists.

On the other hand, I haven't mentioned even earlier domestic roots of the Third Wayists themselves.

Bliar & Brown were 'converted' to centrism and promoted by then leader Neil Kinnock; and the next leader John Smith, though more traditionalist, prepared the way towards Bliar's internal power structure changes and the symbolic and infamous changing of party statute Chapter IV by disempowering trade unions within the party. (Also, there was the Fabian Society, but I don't know its history of turning NuLab.)

In Germany, the domestic line was much more straightforward: Schröder is the ideological foster son of former (seventies-early eighties) chancellor Helmut Schmidt, him with the famous line "Those who have visions should see the doctor".

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat May 30th, 2009 at 02:22:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't remember what Clinton called himself

New Democrat. But he was called Third Wayist, too, from after the 1994 elections when he governed against/with a Republoscum House majority, but the term was promoted once Bliar came.

BTW, just having checked the Third Way (centrism) Wikipedia article, I find that the earliest manifestation they name is in the middle of the eighties, Labour in Australia.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat May 30th, 2009 at 02:32:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Again it comes to getting media coverage.

Imagine a campaign which investigated the tax affairs and lifestyles of top bankers and hedge fund managers.

This would be much more dangerous than scapegoating MPs, but much more effective in directing public anger. There would be the usual counter-attacks about the politics of envy, but with enough repetition and enough evidence of injustice, those would soon start to lose traction.

Remember Bernays - the way to create movements isn't to present rational arguments, it's to demonstrate and dramatise the point you want to make, and then to leave people free to join the dots and apply the needed political and economic pressure themselves.

This is exactly how the right already works. The left has been incredibly bad at developing an immunity to these tactics - never mind a good positive counter-response.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 10:13:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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