The economic crisis has meant that radical left parties in Europe have been faced with changing socioeconomic environments. In this study we examine how European radical left parties have responded to the crisis in terms of their societal mobilization strategies and seek to explain their responses. Discussions in the relevant literature advocate that party-specific characteristics matter greatly in how parties mobilize in society and establish relations with social groups in times of stability. But do they continue to be as important at times of dramatic change, when new realities emerge in society? We look at the cases of the Greek (Greek Communist Party and Coalition of the Radical Left), Irish (Sinn Féin), Portuguese (Portuguese Communist Party and Bloco) and Spanish (Spanish Communist Party/United Left) radical left parties, which are alike at the country level but exhibit differences at the party level. Utilizing data from an original expert survey, we show that both ideology and organizational legacy throw considerable light on the observed variation among the six radical left parties’ societal responses to the crisis. In this way, they ensure continuity rather than change.
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