This is wrong on so many levels, I don't even know where to begin. You are deliberately being specious, while you keep associating cultural liberalism with economic liberalism. The two are separate entities.Echoes said:Post Cold War "left demoralization" is only media "smoke and mirrors".
The USSR did not represent social welfare. Western Europe did. By 1945, in many Western European countries (or Western countries in general), the Welfare State was established by political right-wingers, such as General de Gaulle in France. It's this spirit that was destroyed by liberalism, in the eighties. Liberalism that became global in the nineties (free circulation of capitals) but that was mostly negotiated by the political left ! They destroyed the Welfare State that the Right established.
Jean-Claude Michéa showed very well that in the 19th century, the working class and syndicalist movement would never consider themselves left-wingers. Neither did Marx nor Engels because the Left advocated for free-market, yes indeed. Marx even borrowed many ideas from "romantic right-wingers" (Balzac, Burke, Carlyle). Michéa argued that there had been a historical compromise between the Left and the socialists after the Dreyfus affair. Only that is just true for France. Britain saw the same evolution at about the same time.
So when the communist parenthesis was closed, the Left just went back to its roots: LIBERALISM ! Societal issues (gay marriage, drugs, etc.) and anti-racism became their favourite struggle (even before the end of the Cold War), which actually has always been.
Another interesting note is that during the Cold War, the so-called Stalinians would always side with the Conservative (that was true for the French Communist with De Gaulle), while the Trotskyists would side with the Liberals ... and become their useful idiots (Hitchens is the typical example).
The syndicalist movement was heterogeneous in the 19th century, until it eventually differentiated between anarcho-syndicalsim, and the nationalists. The former has been largely forgotten about after being first abandoned and then persecuted by the right wing for not embracing nationalist causes, as was the case under Mussolini and Hitler. Marx and Engles were clearly not free-market pundits.
You also have to distinguish between so called "atlantism" and "eurism." Mackinder clearly showed that in the last few centuries the “maritime attitude” means “atlantism”, as today the “sea powers” above all are England and America, that is the Anglo-Saxon countries. Against “atlantism” personifying the primacy of individualism, “economic liberalism” and “democracy of a Protestant kind”, stands “eurasism”, necessarily presupposing authoritarianism, hierarchy and the establishment of “communitarian”, national-state principles over the simply human, individualistic and economic concerns. The clearly expressed eurasian attitude is typical first of all of Russia and Germany, the two mightiest continental powers, whose geopolitical, economic and - most important – word-view concerns are completely opposite to those of England - US, that is the “atlantists.”
Anyway, the opposition “Lenin=German spy” - “Trotsky=American spy” really corresponded to a definite typological scheme. In any case, at the pure geopolitical level, the operating of Lenin’s government had an Eurasian character, if only because, contrary to the authentic Marxist doctrine, he preserved the united great eurasian space of the Russian Empire. (Trotsky, on his part, insisted on exporting Revolution, on its “mondialization”, and considered the Soviet Union as something transient and ephemeral, as the bridgehead for ideological expansion, something which should disappear before the planetary victory of “messianic communism”; as a whole, Trotsky’s mission bore on itself the mark of “atlantism”, as opposed to communist “eurasist” Lenin). Leninist-bolshevik “internationalism” itself had a definite “imperial”, “eurasian” measurement-principle of “soil above blood” - though, certainly, this principle was distorted and misinterpreted due to the influence of other aspects of the bolshevik ideology and, most important, due to the activities of “influential agents” of atlantism inside the same communist government. Summing up all these reasons, it is possible to say that a distinctive feature of the representatives of the Eurasian Order in Russia was almost “compulsory” germanophily (or, at least, “anglophoby”), and conversely, in Germany eurasists were “compelled” to be russophile. Moeller van der Bruck made once a very correct remark: “French conservatives were always excited by the example of Germany, German conservatives by the example of Russia”. Here the whole logics is revealed of the geopolitical, continental background of the invisible occult fight passing through the centuries - the occult War of Continents.
If as you claim the so-called Stalinians always sided with the conservative parties, whereas the Trotskyists, which meant democratic communism to be globalized, and hence a softening of the totalitarian view, had found allies among the liberals, I think you will find possible reasons within this "atlantism" vs. "eurism," baring in mind that nations like France and Italy shared qualities of both.
You also don't consider the wave of progressive democracy that swept through Europe in the post-war rebuilding phase as the real basis for building social institutions. Despite having many conservative political leaders and their majority coalition’s in power at the time, as in Italy with the Christian Democrats, this can hardly be chalked up primarily to conservative causes, other than perhaps some lingering vestiges of fascism. Furthermore, it is nonsense that Europe's left advocated the free-market in ways that were strictly bound to liberalism and the development of capitalist economies. That certainly wasn't the case with Palmiro Togliatti and subsequently Enrico Berlinguer in Italy, despite the fact that the Italian communist party was pressed to make a historical compromise with the Christian Democrats. The Cold War set the zeitgeist and among the Western nations that meant accommodating the free-market at various levels, on the left just as on the right.
While this was all taking place the material wealth that accrued among the Western nations, was accompanied by more leisure time and prolonged education for a young generation that now didn't have to enter the labor market right after primary school to help put food on the family table. The establishment of an educated and idle emerging generation, led to the calls for social reform that touched upon all levels of the state and its institutions, even the Church, that was countered by reactionaries who aligned themselves with the various conservative currents and who became their useful idiots (like Lefebvre).
These upheavals and the continued triumphant march of the free-market, after the communist parenthesis was closed, saw a new class of politician eventually emerge in Europe. Characterized by market fundamentalism, nationalistic patriotism and conservative values, the new class was best represented by Thatcher and Helmut Kohl, but also even if under somewhat different terms, Craxi and eventually Berlusconi. The left didn’t revert back to liberalism, it simply was defeated by it, under the aegis of this new, emerging class of political conservatives. Indeed the spirit of the Wellfare state, and hence social democracy was destroyed by liberalism in the 80's. But who exercised a frontal attack of the Wellfare state, syndicalism and had a highly pejorative outlook on society, even claiming that it didn't exist? The iron lady herself, Margaret Thatcher.