For a Continued Emancipation of The Left (Die Linke)

Birgit Daiber and Cornelia Hildebrandt, January 2010

“The old socialist model imploded in 1989. The perversion of the idea of socialism by Stalinism, the failure of planned economy, the bureaucratic paralysis of societies under the political leadership of the communist parties: not much remained of the wealth of ideas of the left’s history; humankind’s hope had been exhausted by the grey reality of actually existing socialisms.

But 1989 not only marked the end of a bipolar world, it also had existential implications for the social-democratic and non-social-democratic left. The revolutionary attempt to change the political system had failed worldwide for the left. There was no possible third way between communism and social democracy – neither the left of the west nor the east had developed such an alternative. Left parties and traditionally left political formations worldwide have had to live with the consequences of the events of 1989. From Russia and China to Latin America and Cuba, from Berlin to Warsaw and Chisinau, the events of 1989 and the end of the power of the victorious Soviet Union’s reign have been dealt with in entirely different ways. It is worth considering the implications of the break-up of the system in 1989 for the left as a whole, both the communist-socialist and socialdemocratic left…”