The Specter Haunting Europe: The Lost Left

Issue Date October 2016
Volume 27
Issue 4
Page Numbers 69-76
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European democracies are going through what may be their most difficult period since the Great Depression. Europe’s mess can be traced to a number of distinct causes, but one that has been largely undervalued is the decline of the center- or social democratic left. This decline has hurt European democracy both directly, as many of these parties’ voters have fled to extremist parties, and also indirectly, for these parties played a crucial role creating and maintaining the postwar order upon which stable democracy was built. Absent a revivification of the center-left, it is hard to see how this order—and perhaps even well-functioning democracy generally—can be resuscitated in Europe.

About the Author

Sheri Berman is professor of political science at Barnard College. Her works include Democracy and Dictatorship in Europe: From the Ancien Régime to the Present Day (2019) and The Primacy of Politics: Social Democracy and the Making of Europe’s Twentieth Century (2006).

View all work by Sheri Berman