The author provides a good overview of recent economic events in Western capitalist countries in an attempt to draw out their implications for political trends. Europe's social democratic type of capitalism and US's more anemic version, what Petras refers to as governments supported by center/left-left collusions with the capitalist ruling classes, is being completely discredited. The left-wing union and political leadership that are tied to this structure have failed to act effectively, leaving angry ordinary people to fend for themselves. This has encouraged right-wing, fascist leaning political forces to step up their policies.
This drama is only in its first act and nobody knows how it is going to play out. Will aggressive leadership and organizations arise from the many millions of struggling workers? Or will we see working people resigned to be sheep for the capitalist sheepherders who intend to lead them into ever smaller pens and ultimately the slaughterhouse. Will working people allow this barbaric system to destroy the environment that sustains human and other life forms? One thing appears certain--the old social democratic left is dead. Maybe that was a necessary step before working people wake up and take matters into their own hands.
The Left-Center Left regimes are paying a high electoral price for sacrificing the working class in order to save the bankers: Obama’s recent electoral defeat is only a forerunner of future losses for the Spanish, Greek, Portuguese Socialists and other L-CL regimes. Their austerity policies have led them to ‘fall between two chairs’: They alienate workers and strengthen the capitalist class, which already has its own “natural” conservative capitalist parties. The “hard right” everywhere is advancing, sensing the debacle of the center-left as an opportunity to deepen and widen the frontal assault on labor rights, social welfare and any semblance of legal protection.