Rutherford, Jonathan (2012) Dispossession. In: The future of European social democracy: building the good society. Meyer, Henning and Rutherford, Jonathan, eds. Palgrave Macmillan, Hampshire, UK, pp. 137-151. ISBN 9780230290938. [Book Section]


Social democracy is losing its place in the world. It has no home in the lives of people. It does not speak for a common life or a common good but has become an administered politics associated with technocratic elites and a centralised state. Its origins in the vast body of collectivist voluntary activity, in the mutual improvement societies, the friendly societies and self governing institutes of the 19th century have faded into history. Its roots in local life and in the workplace have either disappeared or been grievously weakened. It represents everyone and no-one in particular. What does ‘European Social Democracy’ stand for? It believes in multiculturalism but suspects the iconography of working class patriotism. It believes in fairness, but fairness has been colonised across the political spectrum to the point of meaninglessness. It is for solidarity, but when in office, social democratic parties embraced liberal market policies that destroyed solidarity. The neo- classical economics adopted by many national parties has been discredited leaving them without a distinctive alternative political economy. Social democracy in Europe has lost its meaning and it is foundering and disoriented. This chapter argues that it is time to return to the local and to re-engage with the everyday lives of people and rebuild a political movement of ethical life, of community and of work place organising. There will be no European movement without strong national movements and there will be no strong national movements without powerful local organisation.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts
Item ID: 7885
Depositing User: Repository team
Date Deposited: 12 May 2011 14:38
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:23
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/7885

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