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Reflections on the Future of the Left

Edited by David Coates

£60.00 | $85.00
ISBN 9781911116516
£16.99 | $25.00
ISBN 9781911116523
£16.99 | $25.00
ISBN 9781911116530
224 pages | 216 x 138mm | September 2017
Series: Building Progressive Alternatives


What is the future for progressive politics in advanced capitalism? With its political fortunes so low, how might the Left move forward?

These essays from leading left intellectuals – Dean Baker, Fred Block, David Coates, Hilary Wainwright, Colin Crouch, Wolfgang Streeck, Leo Panitch, Sam Gindin and Matthew Watson – reflect on the scale and nature of the task that the Left now faces. The contributors, whose experience stretches back to the headier days of 1968, consider what it is that they should pass on to a younger generation of thinkers and activists tasked with taking progressive politics forward today.

The contributors tackle a series of big questions – what in modern capitalism has brought the Left to this impasse; what role has the Left played in its own failings; what lessons can be learnt for the form and content of progressive politics going forward; and what are the immediate options and how can they best be pursued. The views and opinions expressed vary – some are optimistic, some pessimistic – but all offer searching insight into the task the Left now faces, and what, especially if it was complicit in the neoliberal settlement, it has left to draw on from its intellectual and practical experience to deal with its contemporary challenges.

Akin to The Forward March of Labour Halted published some thirty years ago, these essays represent a major statement on the future for centre-left politics and a frank appraisal of the Left’s current capabilities to keep conservatism at bay and radical politics in the ascendancy.


1. Introduction
David Coates

2. The political economy of an anti-rent-seeking equality agenda
Dean Baker

3. Towards a new paradigm for the Left in the United States
Fred Block

4. Trawling the past as a guide to the future
David Coates

5. Power-as-domination and power-as-transformative-capacity: the distinctive experience of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party
Hilary Wainwright

6. Social democracy in a dangerous world
Colin Crouch

7. Whose side are we on? Liberalism and socialism are not the same
Wolfgang Streeck

8. Class, party and the challenge of state transformation
Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin

9. Closing thoughts
Matthew Watson

Author Information

David Coates holds the Worrell Chair in Anglo–American Studies in the Department of Political Science at Wake Forest University, North Carolina. English by birth and American by citizenship, he has written extensively on labour politics, political economy and public policy in both the US and the UK. His recent publications include Answering Back: Liberal Responses to Conservative Arguments (2010), Making the Progressive Case: Towards a Stronger US Economy (2012), America in the Shadow of Empires (2014) and Capitalism: The Basics (2015). He blogs regularly for The Huffington Post on the full range of US social, economic and foreign policy issues and on his own site at

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