An essential contribution from Policy Network on the challenges of bringing together the new social movements and social democratic parties:
In the past years, we have witnessed the birth of a new political culture: social movements comparable to the student movement in the 1960s or the “green” peace camp in the 1980s attract the most passionate members of society. While their activists, who sometimes fail to come up with alternative political positions, tend to laugh at the stiffness of the political establishment and its bloodless language, politicians and party mandarins are annoyed by the lack of respect for what Max Weber thought politicians should do: constantly “drilling through thick boards” to get their message heard. This is a clash of identities and a clash of perspectives. One side champions realism and sobriety, the other side is sick of hearing excuses instead of visions.
The fundamental question is this: how can we bring together people from the same political family that share fundamental values but distrust and almost despise each other? There is something we can learn from the 1960s. The time is ripe for social change when established political structures on the left open their culture of debate and decision making – and their ranks – for new networks and alliances.