The Liberal Difference: Left and Right Conceptions of Global Injustice

  • Ayelet Banai


In left critiques of globalization, it is often argued that
liberal-egalitarian principles are inadequate for thinking about and
struggling for global justice; that they are, in fact, part of the problem.
For the case of identity politics as a left alternative, the paper points
at two fallacies in this notion, regarding two ‘liberal’ elements:
individualism and universalism. (1) The paper examines groupidentity
claims in far right conceptions of global injustice, and shows
that cultural diversity of groups does not necessitate or even favour
equality and democratic participation. (2) It then examines the left
group-based claims in the global justice discourse, showing that the
aspirations for equality and freedom assume the liberal notions that
have been often rejected as inadequate. The paper concludes that
this ambivalent position undermines the democratic and egalitarian
aspirations of left critiques of the global order. The analysis is based
on manifestos and publications of political parties and movements in
Western Europe (France, Germany and Austria).