In the aftermath of World War II, socialism appeared to many as representing a powerful new direction that would set Europe on a course for prosperity. As the years passed and the European Union emerged as the key vehicle of economic success either socialist leaders lost their dreams or socialism, in the traditional sense, lost its direction. Over the past week-end, Jean-Luc Melenchon, announced the founding a new French socialist party which he hoped would unite those on the political left and become a force to combat the power of capitalism. France’s Socialist Party is torn with fractional disputes and fights are more concerned as to who is in charge rather than what the party represents in the modern world.
“The France of rebellion and revolution has once again found a will, a flag, and a party,” announced Melenchon. “There is a tremendous opportunity on the left to confront capitalism.” There is no doubt many Europeans have lost faith in traditional capitalism, but that does not necessarily translate into support of socialism unless leaders on the left have something to offer besides wanting power.
So far, as even Melenchon admits, his followers are disaffected members of the existing French Socialist Party. It will require new dreams and visions of the future for socialism to capture the adherence of most Europeans. Can the left furnish such a future?