Back in November 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall has signified the victory of liberal democracy over socialism. Of markets over the state, of the individual over the collective and of the West over the East. The success has also reflected onto the politics. The left-leaning figures were now shifting so much to the political centre-ground, that everyone else had to redefine their position.
With Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, it became apparent – the liberal democracy has mostly won over the party-line divisions. Western politicians now found their common ground and former ideologists became rebelling minorities – carriers of outdated and impractical ideas.
But liberal democracy has its downsides. One of such would be the growing inequality – the heavy calibre in the hands of the modern Marxist followers. It was effortless to avoid the conversation when the general bulk of the population in the Anglo West has lived through the unprecedented decade of growth and stability. For many of the working class, the full fridge kept their discontent at bay.
Much had changed when the global financial crisis emerged in 2008. A demonstration of how greed and impunity of the free market forces could affect the lives of the ordinary folks.
At the same time, the government had no choice but to openly support the new public enemy. It took years for the working class to recover. The long-forgotten idea for the government to take control became a solution once again.
In the upcoming years, two very similar political figures have emerged to challenge the status quo of liberal democracy. The independent senator of Vermont, Bernie Sanders and north London Labour party MP, Jeremy Corbyn. Their run for power has had an astonishing success. Yet, despite their popularity and work ethics, it merely demonstrated the incompatibility of Western political systems with socialist ideas.
On April the 8th, Bernie Sanders has dropped out of the 2020 Presidential Race. He had become a runner up for the second time in his career. In 2016 he had lost a Democratic party nomination to Hillary Clinton by a very close margin. Political commentators have acknowledged how the internal party hostility and the American media sabotaged Sanders campaign
Across the Atlantic, on April the 12th, it has been revealed that UK’s own champion of socialism ideals, has likewise been sabotaged from within his own party. Back in the 2017 general election, Corbyn’s Labour required only 2227 votes in seven constituencies to win over the Conservatives to form a coalition government. A hostile faction within his own party has deliberately tried to lose the election and get rid of a socialist leader.
Throughout their long career, they had campaigned for democratic socialism, with a particular emphasis on reversing economic inequality. The issue that became a hot topic since the 2008 Financial crisis. Both politicians have been pro-labour rights advocates, championed progressive ideas and have proposed many economic policies aimed at helping those with a smaller pool of opportunities – the working class and the younger generation.
Both Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn have gained popularity among all strata of society, but particularly so, among the youth. The movement they have left behind is now labelled radical and revolutionary – the deviation from the normal political and economic theory.
While the legacy of Sanders and Corbyn will remain for a very long time, it is not clear when the next attempt at overthrowing economic liberalism will be made.
Under the current conditions, the liberal-democrats in power are being forced to implement the specific policies they had opposed. In both the UK and the US, the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the need for a bigger government. More importantly, it demonstrated why modern socialism in both variants proposed by Corbyn and Sanders has a solid ground to be implemented. In times of crises, liberal democracies have proven to be much less reactive to circumstances that require an immediate presence of the Big Brother to societies.