Southern European Socialism

Archive Report

The French Example

Identity Crises within the Political Left

During a short span of little more than two years, from mid-1981 to the late summer of 1983, all five of the big democracies in Southern Europe and their nearly 170 million people came under the sway of Socialist-led governments. This leftward shift of power in France, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy provoked a wave of anxiety in those countries and among their northern neighbors in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Economic Community (EEC). For the political left throughout Europe, it sent expectations soaring.

Both the fears and high expectations have all but vanished today. The Socialist leadership, though varying in ideological ambition from country to country, has generally turned to middle-of-the-road devices in ...

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