Lessons from Greece

Guy Sorman has an interesting column exploring the deep fractures within Europe’s left-leaning political parties in light of the riots currently assailing Greece:

Moreover, without the Soviet Union, European socialists have few foreign causes to take to heart: few understand Putin’s Russia, and today’s totalitarian-capitalist China is too far and too strange. And, since Barack Obama’s election, anti-Americanism is no longer a viable way to garner support. The good old days when Trotskyites and socialists found common ground in bashing the United States are over.

The ideological weakness and division of the left will not, of course, exclude them from power. Leaders can cling to office, as José Zapatero is doing in Spain and Gordon Brown is doing in the UK. The left may ultimately win general elections elsewhere if the new Keynesian right proves unable to end the crisis. But whether in opposition or in power, the socialists have no distinct agenda.

The lesson from Greece, however, is that what European socialists should fear most is the far left’s taste and talent for disruption. For the hollowing out of socialism has a consequence. To paraphrase Marx, a spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of chaos.