Europe - what's left?

Strategies after the Coup

Conference focused on topics and shapes of european protest and organization

The European institutions blackmailing the Greek government, the authoritarian reaction to the summer of migration and the radicalisation of the right in Europe have revealed that the left has to rethink previous strategies of political change. We need a new discussion of the content and forms of common organising and praxis. How can we act together and develop solidarity effectively, even if our situations, previous practices and immediate goals are different, while unequal developments are creating different conditions of action?

Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung in Berlin invited from June 3rd to 5th 2016 over 100 activists from different left parties, organisations, trade unions and social movements from more than 20 countries in order to discuss options of left politics.


Documentation of the public events

June 2nd 2016

The scope of the left in government: The examples of Greece and Thuringia

The blackmail of the Greek government by its international creditors continues: Again they are demanding further «reforms» (i.e. lower wages and pensions, further privatisations etc.), threatening not to pay the next tranches of the credits promised last year. Although there are differences between the IMF and the EU (the IMF demands unbearable reforms but also acknowledges the necessity of a further debt relief which is blocked by the EU), the Greek government could not profit from these differences. On the contrary, the additional demands and open questions are threatening to asphyxiate the Greek government. The situation in the state of Thuringia is comparable to Greece in some respect: Here we also have a left government in a federal state with a relatively weak industrial structure and financial restrictions which are imposed by the federal government of Germany. What is the scope of left governments under these conditions? How do they deal with the problem of neoliberal «multi-level governance» in the EU and in Germany respectively? How do they relate to trade unions and social movements and their critique? To what extent is it possible to defend or to augment workers’ rights and change the balance of forces progressively despite the financial restrictions?

Speakers: Georgios Katrougalos (Minister of Labour, Social Insurance and Social Solidarity of the Hellenic Republic and Professor of Public Law at Democritus University of Thrace) and Susanne Hennig-Wellsow (Chairwoman of the parliamentary group of DIE LINKE in Thuringia). Facilitator: Martin Schirdewan (Head of the Brussels office of Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung)

June 3rd 2016

One year after the coup: Europe between violence and solidarity

After the subjugation of the Greek government led by Syriza there was the summer of migration. The self-empowerment of the multitude of migrants achieved what the movements against austerity politics did not achieve: One of the pillars of the European Union, the border regime based on the Dublin agreement was overturned. And with the reintroduction of border controls the Schengen agreement is also obsolete temporarily. Fissures are looming in the European power blocs. The debate about the refugees and the response to the terrorist attacks with the declaration of the state of emergency in France reveal a growing authoritarianism of the governing elites and a right-wing populism radicalizing itself. However, there are strong moments of solidarity time and again: From the structures of solidarity among the people in Greece and Spain to the protests against austerity, and from the solidarity with Greece to the initiatives welcoming refugees, people conceive their commitment as a political intervention and an expression of a democratic mode of life. How do we understand the present situation? How can an emancipatory practice become visible and effective in a situation of social and political polarization?

Welcome address: Dagmar Enkelmann (Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung)
Speakers: Srećko Horvat (DiEM25, Croatia), Katja Kipping (DIE LINKE, Germany), Miguel Urban Crespo (Podemos, Spain), Giorgos Chondros (Syriza, Greece), Facilitator: Hilary Wainwright (Red Pepper/Transform!, Great Britain)

June 4th 2016

Plan A, B, C in Europe - what is uniting us?

Plan A for democratic reestablishment of Europe, plan B as an exit from monetary union or EU, plan C of solidary economies from below: There currently are circulating many strategic positions of the Left in the European discourse. What is the relationship of these different proposals to each other - and what is actually their reality? Do they play a guiding role in the policies of new and old leftist organizations or are they merely european policy pronouncements without concrete action? Do we rather experience a return to national policies, even if they are accompanied by an economic european debate? Where is the right place to make happen a plan A , B or C? Can there be an effective european strategy of the Left? Is Europe perhaps the horizon of left politics, but not its real place?

Welcome address: Heinz Bierbaum (DIE LINKE)
Speakers: Loukia Kotronaki (Diktio), Brid Brennan (Transnational Institute), Steffen Lehndorff («Founding Europe anew»), Zoe Konstantopoulou (PlanB Paris). Facilitators: Corinna Genschel (Liaison office of the parliamentary group of DIE LINKE for social movements) and Mario Candeias (Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung)