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The Left’s failure to promise welfare

August 15th, 2016

A left-wing columnist lambasts the Left for ignoring or even ridiculing everyday voters’ need for economic security and stability. He warns that in the absence of meaningful left-wing proposals on welfare, people will turn to right-wing populist parties.

In the post-Soviet region, mainstream parties, including Social Democrats downplay the public’s need for welfare and economic security, István Tanács contends in Népszabadság. The left-wing columnist thinks that the lower middle classes as well as poor families are being neglected by the Left. Tanács finds it peculiar that the Left fears the advance of authoritarian anti-democratic parties, but at the same time fails to offer a meaningful welfare vision for people who turn to the nationalist and populist parties for that instead. In post-Communist Europe, the Left has embraced pro-market liberal ideas according to which welfare and economic security needs to be earned on an individual basis. Those who are not talented or competitive enough are left to their own devices by left-wing parties. So it is not at all surprising that they turn to populists who offer help, Tanács notes. If the Left fails to connect to these voters, Europe will soon be dominated by authoritarian politicians, Tanács concludes.

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