2019 was the worst year for the left since 1979. By then, NZ Labour had lost, Aussie Labor had been removed, and UK Labour trounced.
In 2019, once-mighty forces of reform and redistribution were set back from ranked power contenders to journeymen on the punching bag circuit.
The broadest retreat of 2019 was the EU elections. The European Parliament represents the strongest form of pan-national government the world has seen since the Roman Empire, built over 60 years by centre-left and left governments. The Marxists are all-but gone, socialists in full retreat, centre-left reps defensive and disputatious.
In May’s Australian election, Labor lost the Federal election despite sustained chaos in the Liberal-led coalition (they’re much better in the states).
Seven years have passed since the Democratic Party of Japan – very similar to most developed-world centre-left parties – lost and broke up. After the July election the remnant Constitutional Democratic Party now bumps around the minors.
Italy and Spain are led by centre-left governments in name only propped up by anti-establishment radicals.
The former Prime Minister of France has declared the nations’ socialist party “dead and gone”.
Canada’s New Democratic Party – formed in 1961 from labour and progressive movements, now has 0 Senate seats and 24 of 338 in the Commons (they’ve done better at Provincial level).
OMG to India’s awesome democracy and miserable centre-left.
Even South America’s strong-left parties were chucked in Uruguay, Bolivia, and Brazil, with the Argentine centre-left propped up by the Peronist Kirchner.
In mid-December the United Kingdom’s Labour Party was simply smashed despite strong anti-capitalist policies, great local government success, and Conservative chaos.
Occasionally hope breaks out, as in Portugal. There, the new strong-left government has had a great time reversing cruel post-GFC austerity policies.
As an alternative the only places the Greens register much are in Iceland, Germany and New Zealand. They have concentrated on issues such as the environmental and immigration rather than a redistributionist economic program, in order to gain government with centrist parties left and right.
So it’s most unlikely that the “old left” and socialist-type parties can reinvent successfully at all. The era for a further grand global movement is gone. Occasionally as in New Zealand and Finland fresh leaders arise against the trend.
I won’t miss 2019. With no successor left movement arising since 1989 or 2008, the job of the remaining elected left is to defend and retain the redistributionist instruments it built as long as it can, for handing to new movements largely unseen today. The word is no longer ours.
In the face of its accelerated decline, it’s all it has the power to do anyway.
2020 is our election year. Arise, we have little to lose.