As “progressives” and “the establishment” vie for the future of the Democratic party in the United States, WikiTribune examines whether there are rifts within other left-wing parties around the world.
There are clear parallels in the United Kingdom, especially in 2017, when liberal commentators expressed deep concern that Jeremy Corbyn would make the Labour Party “unelectable” by bringing it further to the left (Guardian).
Whether it’s about keeping the left relevant in politics, or a genuine difference in public policy, there are several countries dealing with a split between the status quo and an insurgent force in left-wing governments.
This WikiTribune story is dedicated to listing, and explaining rifts among the left-wing political parties. All contributions must cite their sources. If contributions are based on your own interviews, please link to the transcript and audio recording.
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Summary: The Democrats are the left-wing party of the United States in what is essentially a two-party system. But it’s been the other party, the Republicans, who have dominated federal government since 2017. And as Democrat leadership strategize on how to reclaim power, a growing insurgency of “progressives” are making their voices heard. Besides supporting policies such as single-payer healthcare, they also argue that such a platform will help Democrats beat Republicans in upcoming elections.
The election of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for the Democratic nomination has been treated as a microcosm of a larger rift within the Democratic party, one that was on display during the 2016 presidential elections when Senator Bernie Sanders ran to the left of Hillary Clinton. (Vox).
Many progressives may be closer to the Green party or Working-Families party in the U.S. in terms of ideology. But because of the structure of American electoral rules, progressives have a better chance of being elected as a Democrat then running within an obscure third-party (New Republic).
- Foreign policy: Progressives are largely critical of U.S. military intervention in Iraq and Libya, though some will support specific interventions at specific times. Perhaps the most stark differences involve Israel. Sanders said that Israel has responded with “disproportionate” force against Palestinians during a presidential debate, a rarity in U.S. politics. (CNN). Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet that Democrats can no longer be silent about the Israeli conduct in Gaza during her campaign.
- Campaign finance: Many progressives believe that candidates should not accept contributions from corporations. Both Sen. Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is expected to win her election, did not take money from corporate donors while their respective opponents did (Hillary Clinton and Joseph Crowley).
- Healthcare: Progressive candidates are making single-payer healthcare a pillar of their campaigns, a policy often articulated as “Medicare for All” (Vox). Rep. Nancy Pelosi and other congressional Democratic leaders have previously supported single-payer, but currently advocate for less ambitious first steps that they believe to be more viable (The Hill). Progressive groups launched attack ads against a more moderate Democratic candidate in California for not explicitly running on a platform of Medicare for All (The Hill).
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Summary: The Democratic Party was the left-wing party of Japan until it essentially disbanded in 2017 after a resounding electoral defeat to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democrats (Financial Times). After splintering, the Democratic party formed again under a coalition known as the Democratic Party of the People. However, the reincarnation of the Democrats has failed to gain traction and has been overshadowed by the Constitutional Democratic Party which has catapulted in the polls.
The Constitutional Democratic Party impresses the importance of offering a strong liberal message that clearly distinguishes the party from Abe. CDP even refused to join a coalition government with DPP because of their willingness to take moderate positions (Japan Times).
- Nuclear power: The CDP advocates for immediately decommissioning nuclear power plants in light of the Fukushima disaster and ramp up renewable energy to make up the differnce. The Democratic Party of the People advocates for a gradual decommissioning of nuclear power, with a goal of zero nuclear power plants in the 2030s.
- LGBT rights: CDP has LGBT rights as part of their platform, promising to celebrate the community if in office. DPP does not make the same explicit mention.
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