Non-Leftist Left, a Radical Reconfiguration of Southern European Politics

Published on Dissident Voice, by James Petras, June 21, 2015: the Rise of the Non Leftist Left.

Over the past decade fundamental changes have taken place in Southern Europe, which have broken with previous political alignments, resulting in the virtual disappearance of traditional leftist parties, the decline of trade unions and the emergence of middle class radicalism … //

… The ‘Non-Leftist Left’ in Southern Europe:

  • The economic crisis, in particular the imposition of severe cuts in wages, pensions and other social welfare programs by right-wing and social democratic governments have led to widespread discontent, which the traditional workplace based leftist parties have been unable to address and mobilize the people. Prolonged and deepening unemployment and the growth of temporary employment have affected over 50% of the labor force … //

… The Non-Leftist Left’s Transition: From Street to Public Office:

  • From the street, the NLL moved swiftly to elections and from elections they proceeded to form coalitions with traditional parties. Strategic decisions were taken by a small coterie of personalistic leaders: They redefined ‘participatory democracy’ to refer only to local neighborhood activism and issues – not national issues, which were the realm of ‘experts’ … //

… NLL in Spain and Italy – Podemos and Five Stars:

  • Podemos in Spain and Five Stars in Italy are ready to follow Syriza’s path of colonial subservience. They rejected and successfully marginalized the traditional left. They have gained mass support, organized mass protests and loudly rejected austerity and the dictates of the Troika … //

… Conclusion:

  • While the NLL movements capture the support of the ‘indignant’, the mass of unemployed workers and the evicted householders, their leaders do not articulate a serious plan of action capable of challenging the economic power structures: they raise popular expectations via demands for ‘change’. However, these vague and deceptive slogans allow the NLL leaders to join in a medley of opportunist electoral coalitions and governmental alliances, with decidedly establishment personalities and parties.
  • In Greece, Italy, and Spain the traditional left has either disappeared, or shrunk to a marginal force. With little or no base outside of the workplace and trade unions, they barely secure five percent of the votes.
  • The NLL has deepened the isolation of the traditional left and has even attracted a part of its social base. NLL’s rejection of the traditional left’s tight organization and top down leadership and its pluralistic rhetoric appeals to the young. Moreover, as the left trade unions have sought compromises with the bosses to save the jobs of employed workers and ignored the unemployed, the latter has looked to the ‘open and spontaneous’ NLL to express their opposition. In Spain’s municipal elections, the United Left, a Communist-led electoral formation, joined with Podemos to elect Manuela Carmena, the ‘insurgent mayor’ of Madrid.
  • While the Euro-US academic left has rightly celebrated the emergence of mass opposition to the rightist regimes in Southern Europe, they have failed to understand the internal dynamics within the NLL movements: the limitations of middle class radicalism and their conformists’ goals.
  • The example of Syriza in Greece is a warning of the fatal consequences of middle class leaders trying to realize radical changes, within the neo-liberal framework imposed by the EU.


  • Currently, the best example of the opportunism and bankruptcy of the NLL is found in the successful Mayor-elect of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, whose victory was hailed by Podemos as the ‘great victory for the people’ at recent celebration.
  • //
  • Carmena further betrayed her Podemos electorate by insisting she looked forward to working with the hard Right Prime Minister Rajoy and flatly rejected the idea of promoting a progressive alternative!
  • In less than one week, the euphoria over the victory of Podemos backed candidates has been dissipated by these acts of cynical opportunism: the non-leftist left has betrayed its electorate, from the very start!

(full long text).

(James Petras is author of Extractive Imperialism in the Americas: Capitalism’s New Frontier (with Henry Veltmeyer) and The Politics of Empire: The US, Israel and the Middle East. Read other articles by James, or visit James’s website).

(my comment: this betrayal has to do with a strong human desire to reach levels of rich-aristocrat-powerpeople, hoping imitate them if we struggle enough (remembering our mothers reading eagerly aristocrat’s stories in female magazines). This efficient internal mechanism making us stand up every morning for going ahead with our humble services inside of our small place we have the right to exist … or not /  no more … the misunderstanding was put in the non-conscious part of our brain since ever, and the Non Leftist Left is harvesting from this our old desire/deceit – Heidi).


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New: Mafia Wiki, on en.wikipedia.

… and this:

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