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Commentary :: Politics
For a New "New Deal" Party
25 May 2008
The left must use the great current financial crisis to critically test all of today's liberal dogmas-from unbridled free trade and the systematic repression of the state to the sacrifice of developed modern industry to the dogma of free competition and draft alternative scenarios.

By Wolfgang Lieb

[This article published April 28, 2008 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,]

Jean-Pierre Chevenement in “Un grand parti de gauche pour un New Deal” published in the Paris daily Le Monde, 4/24/2008 sees the deep cause of the current financial crisis in the neoliberal globalization enforced by the US since the end of the New Deal era. This 1945-1979 era meant nationally for Germany the unconditional precedence of full employment policy in the welfare state and internationally the Bretton Woods agreement.

The continuous liberalization of the commodities- and capital markets with the dollar as key currency led economically to the absolute dominance of finance capital and politically to the hegemony of the US that gained control over the most important raw material resources of the world. Speculation excesses of liberalized global capital transactions and massive debt-overload of private American households were the triggers of the present-day financial crisis.

Referring to the historical analysis of Yale professor Paul Kennedy (“Rise and Fall of the Super-Powers,” 1989), Chevenement argues the US can no longer maintain the role of a dominant world power through the territorial over-reach of its domination and cannot prevent the multi-polar world in the long run with the centers of Europe, Russia, China, India and Brazil. Will Europe follow the neoconservative American hegemonial policy and join the US in international conflicts as a western block or champion the global enforcement of international law (under the protection of the UN) which alone is the guarantor for lasting peace in a multi-polar and multicultural world?

Both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) proved incapable of containing the international financial crisis. No one can seriously argue today that more international free trade would jump start new economic growth. For state management of the current financial crisis, state interventions and nationalizations have again become foregone conclusions even if only losses will be socialized with the nationalizations. The left must use the great current financial crisis to critically test all of today’s liberal dogmas – from unbridled free trade and the systematic repression of the state to the sacrifice of developed modern industry to the dogma of “free competition” and draft alternative scenarios (for France, Europe and the world). European Union agreements and other agreements should be reformed on the basis of past experiences.

With regard to France, Chevenement is convinced the defeats of the French left in the presidential elections of 1995, 2002 and 2007 were not accidental incidents but the logical consequence of the lost grip of leftist policy on the real world of life and work of the “little people” (“couches populaires”). Only the “electroshock” of the reestablishment of a great alliance party can give the left a majority again in France. Continuing the tradition of Jean Jaures, the programmatic of this party must combine domestic and international solidarity. The party must also proclaim “radical-utopian” visions in a fruitful discussion alongside “concrete-political” perspectives. At the end there must be a political project that does justice to the challenges of our time and to the interests of the population. Given the global financial crisis, the political left is called to oppose their vision of a “new” New Deal of monetary, social and environment-sparing policy to neoliberal capitalism and make this New Deal the theme of international conferences.
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