In parallel with observations of growing influence of right-wing, nationalist movements in Europe, here are a couple of articles that express negative sentiment about the state of the left in Europe. One is from the Wall Street Journal, while the other is from the World Socialist Web Site.
1) An article in the Wall Street Journal about the bad standing of left-leaning parties at the national level in various European countries:
WSJ: 'Across Europe, Left-Leaning Parties See Clout Faltering'
Some of the analysis I found lacking, such as:
'"The WTO marked the triumph of the market economy," says Dominique Reynié, head of Paris-based Foundation for Political Innovation. "Since then, the left has been unable to propose another route."'
But the run-down on recent history of left-wing parties in Europe, and their current standing, was informative, and this was interesting:
'Some fear that the inability of many European left-wing parties to attract voters is a cause -- not just a symptom -- of a rise among parties on the far right. "When people fear that they are not protected by their governments, they go back to nationalism," said Anthony Wedgwood Benn, a retired U.K. Socialist lawmaker.'
2) Commentary on the confused messages coming from the left-wing national parties that together make up the "European Left" in the European Union parliament, whose most recent elections will conclude this weekend: 'Election platform of the “European Left”: Pious wishes and right-wing policies'
'Is the financial and economic crisis rooted in the contradictions of the capitalist system, or is it merely the result of an incorrect policy? Is it possible to renew the existing institutions and organisations—the European Union, national parliaments, the social democratic parties and trade unions—in the interest of workers, or must the working class organise itself independently and develop its own social and political alternative?'
'When carefully considered, the essence of the European Left platform is to promote the illusion that it is possible to achieve a more socially balanced and just European Union. Based on this appeal, the European Left hopes to win a greater acceptance for capitalist institutions in the European population as a whole.'
Together these pieces suggest to me that the left in Europe, overburdened with its internal contradictions, is failing to fill the void of credibility that the financial crisis has presented, while the forces of the right are proving much more able at exploiting this opportunity.