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Forging Democracy : The History of the Left in Europe, 1850-2000 - Geoff Eley

Forging Democracy

The History of the Left in Europe, 1850-2000

Hardcover Published: 1st June 2002
ISBN: 9780195037845
Number Of Pages: 720

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Democracy in Europe has been a relatively recent phenomenon. Only in the wake of World War Two did democratic forces become ensconced and, even then, it was to be decades before democracy truly blanketed the continent.

How then did liberal democracy become the order of the day? Neither given nor granted, democracy requires conflict, often violent confrontations, and challenges to the existing order. In Europe, Geoff Eley here convincingly illustrates, democracy did not evolve organically out of a postwar consensus, the prosperity of the long boom, or the negative cement of the Cold War. Rather, it was painstakingly crafted, continually expanded, and aggressively defended by a loose conglomeration of socialist, labour, feminist, and Communist movements that underwrote the industrial resurrection of Europe's ruined spirit. These parties of the left organised civil societies rooted in egalitarian ideals that came to from the very fibre of Europe's current democratic traditions. The trajectory of European democracy is thus inextricably connected with the history of the European Left.

Seeking neither to valorise nor condemn, Eley has given us the first truly comprehensive history of the European Left's successes and failures; its high watermarks and its low tides; its accomplishments, insufficiencies, and excesses; and, most importantly, its formative, lasting influence on the political landscape of the West. At a time when the influence and legitimacy - the very value - of Leftist democratic principles in frequently called into question, this book stands as a ringing, substantive affirmation of the power of human ideals and of collective organisation.

Industry Reviews

"Shaped by the ideals of equality, liberty and solidarity, the idea of the left was represented by the democratic movementof the nineteenth century and later by socialist and communist movements. Recent histories of the left have not added anything new to this vision. By contrast, Geoff Eley's book has the merit ofhaving enriched both the conceptualization and the historical narrative of this key aspect of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries."- Slavic Review "Combining the learning and analysis of the historian with the commitment of the student radical of 1968,Geoff Eley has written a manifesto of hope in democracy, and a long, regretful good-bye to the movements of the Left which, for 150 years, gave it its reality. Those who want to understand the history of Europe since 1848 will do well to read this wide-ranging and multinational survey, written with both thoght and feeling."--Eric Hobsbawm ""A remarkable feat--a clear, balanced history of left politics which includes social and cultural movements from women's liberation to proletarian nudism, from Bolshevik street theater to New Age travellers. Geoff Eley covers the well-known international events along with the suppressed and marginalized. His long view defies forgetfulness and suggest that what will be found relevant in the future is always unexpected."--Sheila Rowbotham "Ranging over a century and a half and the entire continent of Europe, and with a cast of characters including unionists, feminists, radical intellectuals, political radicals, and many others, this remarkable book offers a much-needed account of the history of European radicalism. And it provides essential historical background for the rethinking of purposes and intellectual premises in which the European -- and American -- Left is now engaged."--Eric Foner

Prefacep. vii
List of Abbreviationsp. xix
Introduction Democracy in Europep. 3
Preparing the Futurep. 13
Socialism, Democracy, and the Peoplep. 17
Laying the Foundationsp. 33
Industrialization and the Making of the Working Classp. 47
History's Forward Marchp. 62
Other Fronts of Democracyp. 85
The Permanence of Capitalism?p. 109
War and Revolution, 1914-1923p. 119
Crisis and Reconstruction of the Left, 1914-1917p. 123
The Russian Revolutionp. 139
Left-Wing Communism, 1917-1923p. 152
Two Casesp. 165
The Foundation of Communist Partiesp. 176
Women and the Leftp. 185
The Left in Culturep. 201
Broadening the Boundaries of Democracyp. 220
Stabilization and the "war of Position"p. 231
Future Deferredp. 235
Socialism in One Countryp. 249
The Politics of Retreat, 1930-1938p. 261
Remaking the Nation, 1939-1947p. 278
Stalinism, Welfare Capitalism, and Cold War, 1945-1956p. 299
956p. 329
Future Imperfectp. 337
It Moves After Allp. 341
Regendering the Leftp. 366
Class and the Politics of Laborp. 384
Remaking Socialism and Democracyp. 405
Gorbachev, the End of Communism, and the 1989 Revolutionsp. 429
Politics Out of Doorsp. 457
Decline or Renewal?p. 470
Conclusionp. 491
Notesp. 505
Bibliographyp. 593
Indexp. 687
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195037845
ISBN-10: 0195037847
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 720
Published: 1st June 2002
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88  x 3.81
Weight (kg): 1.09