The Heart Beats on the Left
October 2000, Polity
The Heart Beats on the Left is the inside story of why Lafontaine broke with the SDP and Schr?der's government, and why he believed that the social and political costs of Schr?der's third way politics were too high. It is a merciless settling of scores in which the policies of Schr?der and his government are subjected to scathing criticism. But it is also the most sustained criticism of third way politics from a prominent political figure who stands on the left.
A bestseller in Germany and already translated into many languages, this book is bound to be widely reviewed in English and to become a focal point for political debate about social democracy and its future.
1. In the Wake of Willy Brandt.
2. A New Economic and Fiscal Policy.
3. The Rush to Lower Taxation.
4. The Election Campaign.
5. Red Socks - Red Hands.
6. Running for Federal Office.
7. My Friendship with Gerhard Schr÷der.
8. Hammering out the Government's Programme.
9. Choosing a Team.
10. The Formation of a Coalition Government.
11. The Red-Green Coalition.
12. Getting off on the Wrong Foot.
13. The Elections in Hesse.
14. Germany and France.
15. International Fiscal Policy.
16. My Resignation.
17. The War in Kosovo.
18. The Medium is the Message.
20. The Third Way is a Route to Nowhere.
21. A Glimpse of the Future.
2. The inside story of why Oskar Lafontaine broke away from the third way politics of Schr?der's government
3. Addresses a range of issues central to the nature and future of social democracy
'He complains bitterly of the difficulty of governing with four
conflicting centres of power - the party executive, the
chancellor's office, the parliamentary party and the upper house.
Lafontaine wanted complete control of all of them, but ended up
with nothing. His experience should serve as a warning for every
new Labour cabinet minister' Iain Dale, New Statesman
'A revealing account of his experiences in the lead-up to and
the aftermath of the Red-Green coalition of 1998 ... Lafontaine was
then, as he is now in his retrospective account, uncompromising in
his commitment to what he sees as the core values of the Left. In
the preface to this English translation, in a message directed
explicitly at British readers, he argues that "the only chance that
social democrats have of winning political majorities is by
representing the interests of workers, the unemployed and
pensioners".' London Review of Books
'Oskar Lafontaine's latest book presents his resignation from
Gerhard Schroeder's government as a case study illustrating the
fault lines within European Social Democracy ... the resignation
issue was the abandonment of social democracy, in other words. This
is itself makes the book worth reading, restoring one's faith in
the politics of principle.' Red Pepper
'There is no intrinsic harm in standing out against prevailing orthodoxies: on the contrary, it can be an uncomfortable but brave position. On many of the above issues, at least until one reads this book, it is easy to sympathise with little Oskar, manfully beating his drum for what he claimed to believe in.' German Politics
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