31 August 2015
Social Democracy in Focus – The Future of Social Democracy
Welcome to our 8th edition of Social Democracy in Focus. In this edition we’re doing something a little different. We’ve received such great feedback on Dennis’ book, An Economy is Not a Society, that we thought we’d recap some of the discussion and commentary around it. And we’re also highlighting a recent presentation by David Hetherington on whether social democracy is in crisis.
Is Social Democracy Actually in Crisis?
In July, David Hetherington joined Eva Cox and Mark Banisch at a Fabians event to discuss “Is Social Democracy Actually in Crisis?”
Said David: “Social democracy is in crisis. The political centre of gravity in the traditional west has moved to the right in the last few decades, the entrenched hold neoliberal activism has taken on our political system, a lack of vision, and the lack of faith in institutions and political players, are contributing factors.”
“Fundamentally, there is a failure of vision. It is very difficult to look around the world and find a coherent holistic political argument that the left has broadly put up in the last decade that has energised a mass movement of people.”
“We need a new set of thinkers who can rebuild trust in the state and develop a new iteration that upholds the values of social democracy, which has delivered such enormous increases in living standards for so many people”.
All Right for Some
Doveton, a suburb in outer south-east Melbourne, was created by the Victorian Housing Commission in 1955 with the specific goal of providing housing for employees of the Big Three factories.
In 1970 there were three jobs in these factories for every Doveton family; by 1995 there was one job for every two families; today there is just one job for every five families.
What we have done in places like Doveton is create a new economic class: the “non-working class”, or perhaps more accurately the “once-working class”. Our economic revolution has created it, and we collectively bear a moral responsibility to remove the “non” or the “once” from its name.
The Unmaking of the Australian Working Class – and their right to resist
“This is the true story of modern Australian political, social and economic history: a revolution the little people lost.
The people who have experienced the destruction of their industries and communities, have something important to say to us.
It is this: economic change can’t be stopped, but we should at least try to make it work for everyone. If not, the losers have the moral right to resist – and they will.”