This is a very informative piece by Martin Jacques at the Guardian, which I think explains the decline of the Left very well:
The reason for the collapse of the left could not be clearer - or more fundamental. Its parameters, its confidence, its mode of organisation, its narrative, its very being, depended on the existence of the labour movement. And it is the latter that has effectively disappeared. The trade unions are a shrunken and wizened version of what they were, pushed to the perimeters of political life, while the party itself has, in its New Labour guise, been reconstituted, such that in style, funding and apparat, it looks much like what a modernised Tory party might be. Labour has been shorn of its roots and meaning.
The collapse of the labour movement is not just a British phenomenon, but one shared with much of Europe. There are two underlying reasons for its demise. The first is the loss of agency, the decline of the industrial working class and its consequent erosion as a meaningful and effective political force. It was the working class - in terms of workplace, community, unions and party - that invented and gave expression to the labour movement. The second reason is the collapse of communism. Of course, the mainstream labour movement in this country never subscribed to its tenets, but both the social democratic and communist traditions shared, in different ways, the vision of a better society based on collectivist principles. It is that vision that was buried with the interment of communism. For over a century, European politics was defined by the struggle between capitalism and socialism: suddenly, capitalism became the only show in town, both in Europe and globally. The result was the rapid deconstruction of the left such that it now exists as but a rump of its former self - not just in Britain, or Europe, but everywhere.
Yes, I think he's right on. The Left is collapsing because their ideology (socialism, communism etc. etc. ) is collapsing. There are very few downtrodden masses remaining that the Left can pitch its message to. Through the magic of capitalism, those once downtrodden masses now have a stake in the societies the Left would like to replace. They don't want to listen anymore to how they are victims of oppression; victims of the forces of capitalism; victims of brutal attemps to benefit from their labor. In fact, they don't want to be victims at all.
Even the most mentally and socially retarded can see for themselves that by taking responsibility for their own lives; by OWNING their own lives, you might say, they have seen the enlightenment that freedom brings. They no longer need the Overlords of the Left to tell them what to think and how to behave; they can think and behave for themselves. Isn't that amazing! This new wave of freedom and democray is spreading faster than the Left can reformulate their old bromides to try to bring the new entrepreneurs and capitalists back into the fold of politically correct thinking.
What to do? What to do? Their movement, gasping for air in this new environment of empowerment of the individual is about to go into convulsions from the lack of someone to blame for all the oppression that isn't in the world. And then....and then....as if some Marxist sorcerer had conjured them, theIslamofascist jihadis appeared on the world scene. The Left can breath a deep sigh of relief, because once more they have some "downtrodden masses" to keep down and with their superior intellectual skills--to control. Jacques goes on to say:
The left may have been marginalised - but the imperatives that gave rise to it and which it sought to address are now more glaring and insistent than at any time since the second world war. Inequality, at both a global and national level, has been steadily increasing, an integral product of the neoliberal model of globalisation that has dominated the world order over the last quarter-century. And the consequences of this inequality have played a crucial role in helping to shape the present phase of global politics, namely Arab Muslim grievance, terrorism and American unilateralism.
For those of you wondering why the Left has jumped on the Islamic bandwagon and become pro-Islam; Pro-Palestinian; pro-Saddam; pro-jihadist; anti-American, and anti-freedom-- wonder no more! The Middle East is the next in a long series poor, oppressed masses on which the Left can try to impose its totalitarian/anti-capitalist/victim mindset! We Shall Overcome! It's America's Fault You Are Poor! Freedom is Oppression! Jihadis of the World Unite! 1984 may be 20 years past, but it can be resurrected in spirit of the fatwa; and the mindless enthusiasm of the suicide bomber. Stop Imperialism...wait, I mean Stop Democracy!
Folks, it's deja vu all over again.