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Labor's Loves Lost? Lessons From Around The World

Labor's Loves Lost? Lessons From Around The World

These are challenging times to be a center-left labor party. Economic and technological shifts have eroded their traditional blue collar voter bases, and political appeals based on national identity are more vigorous these days than those based on class affiliation.


But the news for labor parties isn’t all bad. Here are Gabe’s snapshots of four labor parties and the lessons they tell us about the outlook for the center-left:

Identity Crisis, UK Labour Party: Rescued from the political doldrums after Prime Minister May’s ill-advised 2017 snap election, the Labour Party has been polling neck-and-neck with the Tories over the past year. But party leader Jeremy Corbyn is a divisive figure: his past communist sympathies and pledges to nationalize industries have put off many within the party’s old guard. Moreover, Labour suffers from the same internal splits over Brexit as their Tory rivals, leaving little room for them to attack the current government on that issue. Caught between past and present, and with no clear position on the biggest issue of the day, the UK Labour Party has a new lease on life, but is still grasping for a new identity with no easy resolution in sight.

The Only Alternative, Australian Labor Party: When your opponents go through three prime ministers in five years, you don’t have to do much more than sit back and watch if you’re the Australian Labor Party. Dysfunction within the ruling Liberal Party has benefited Labor, which is now polling 12 points ahead of their center-right opponents in government. All they have to do is hold on until the new prime minister, Scott Morrison, decides to call for new elections, most likely mid-next year. The bad news is that the forces that are pulling apart the Liberals – increasing right-wing populism – may tug at Labor’s supporters before long as well.

Steadily Losing Ground, Swedish Social Democratic Workers’ Party: In Sweden, the Social Democrats, who’ve rung up first place in every single election since 1917, face their biggest challenge in decades. The far-right Sweden Democrats, who have origins in the country's neo-Nazi movement, are poised to become the largest opposition party in a national election on Sunday, capitalizing on increasing backlash against Sweden’s generous asylum and immigration policies. At the same time, support for the center-left Social Democrats has nearly halved over the past 25 years.

Making Room For A New Face, Brazilian Workers’ Party (PT): In Brazil, the major center-left party, the PT, is still hugely popular, but it faces a crisis of leadership. After their favored candidate, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (whom Obama once called “the most popular politician on earth”), was jailed on corruption charges and disqualified from running in next month’s presidential election, they’ve turned to Fernando Haddad, a former mayor of Sao Paulo. Polls show that support for Lula is twice that of the next closest candidate, right-wing firebrand Jair Bolsonaro. But Mr. Haddad has been polling in single digits. The challenge for the PT is one many parties face: how to establish loyalty beyond a single transformational figure.

Meet Alessandra Cominetti, a recipient of MIT Technology Review Magazine's Innovators Under 35 award. As a lab technician at Eni's Research Centre for Renewable Energy in Novara, Alessandra has devoted her career to finding new solutions and materials to optimize solar energy. Much like the serendipitous encounter that resulted in her employment, her eagerness and willingness to try new things allowed her to stumble upon a material for the creation of portable solar panels.

Watch her remarkable story on the latest episode of Faces of Eni.

Joe Biden has vowed to radically change the US' approach to foreign policy and international diplomacy should he win next week's election.

But a lot has happened in four years under Donald Trump that could impede Biden's ability to simply return to the status quo ante. How different would US foreign policy really be under a Biden presidency? What will the two-term former vice president likely be able to change, and what's bound to remain the same, at least for now?

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Kevin Sneader, Global Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company, provides perspective on what corporate business leaders are thinking during the global coronavirus crisis

Should big business care about small business in these times?

The answer is yes and for many reasons. First, small business is the lifeblood of our economies. 45% of employment in emerging countries and 70% in the OECD comes from small and medium enterprises. Moreover, these enterprises have been badly hit by the crisis. Surveys indicate as many as 50% of European small to medium enterprises feel they may not survive over 12 months. While SMEs are relying on government support, larger companies do have a role to play. After all, this includes prioritizing small business and procurement by locking in demand for multiple years, thus facilitating access to good credit, paying receivables to small business in time and where possible, ahead of schedule. Cash flow matters most when you're small. Looking out for small businesses that have lower resilience. For example, financial institutions can lend more and in doing so, ensure deeper customer relationships in the future.

In his latest Financial Times op-ed, Martin Wolf argues that the US global role is at stake in this election and that a Trump re-election would undo America's legacy of democratic leadership in the world. Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group's Jeffrey Wright grabbed the Red Pen to argue that a Trump presidency exists in part because of Americans' rejection of the US's post-war leadership role, and these feelings run deeper than the article suggests.

Today, we're taking The Red Pen to a recent op-ed published in The Financial Times from my good friend, the chief economics commentator Martin Wolf. Martin argues the global role of the United States is at stake on November 3rd, and that a Trump reelection would undo America's legacy of democratic leadership in the world. There's been a lot of this sort of thing recently. I know, we did it once, but if we do it twice, it's all over and I'm not there. To be clear, we don't totally reject what Martin is presenting in this piece. Rather, we'd argue that a Trump presidency exists because there were feelings that were present in the United States before he came along and they run a lot deeper than the article suggests. In other words, it's really not all about Trump.

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"The top priority will be to announce to the world that the United States they've known for decades is back." Former top Obama diplomat and current CEO of the think tank New America Anne-Marie slaughter predicts an American revival on the global stage if Joe Biden wins the presidency. But at a time when the United States has never been more divided, can any nation, even the world's most powerful, be a global leader if it cannot even keep its own house in order? Ian Bremmer's conversation with Slaughter is part of a new episode of GZERO World.

Watch the episode: How a "President Biden" could reshape US foreign policy

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