Abstract

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall the European-along with the much weaker American-left has been in a crisis that has challenged its very identity. In fact, this profound crisis predated the events of 1989; it was in full swing by the time the Wall tumbled in good part because of the ineptitude and moral bankruptcy of at least part of this left. Still, with the events of 1989 and 1990, a period that began in the late 1860s and early 1870s and entered its political salience in the 1880s came to a close. A political manifestation and social formation that defined the very idea of progressivism in the advanced industrial societies for exactly one century collapsed. Some would say that the radicalism of this period, its revolutionary potential to transform capitalism, ended with the tragedy of 1914. After all, it was then that the left realized that its internationalism and perceived universal class solidarity had lost its primacy to the much more powerful sentiment of particularistic nationalism. The left's innocence was most certainly lost by the early fall of 1914. Others would date the crisis from the end of World War I, the events of 1918, which already pointed toward the coming of Stalinism in the Soviet Union and National Socialism in Germany.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1946-0910
Print ISSN
0012-3846
Pages
pp. 5-13
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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