Perspectives of a Progressive Danube Region and Central Europe Strategy

At the end of October 2018, transform! europe is organizing a conference on the critical dispute over Otto Bauer’s book ‘The Austrian Revolution’.

Published in 1923 and currently being fully translated into English for the first time, Bauer therein discussed the social and democratic upheavals of the year 1918. Based on his reflections, we now want to discuss contemporary political developments in Europe and build a bridge between political daily work and scientific findings in ‘revolutionary legwork’ (Otto Bauer, 1928). In the light of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Austria and its time-matched presidency of the Council of the European Union, issues such as Bauer’s theories of transformation and his confrontation with the ‘national question’, which have received topicality in the face of a resurgent nationalism, are our focus of attention.

In particular, the conference aims to strengthen cooperation in the countries of the Danube Region and Central Europe. The focus is on the discussion of Austromarxism as a common scientific reference point and framework for a common strategy.

By a historical-political reflection we address current socio-economic issues and their effects on social cohesion. For example, parallels can be drawn between Austria in the 1920s and today’s Greece: Like Austria then was constrained by the League of Nations loan, Greece is now constrained in its (fiscal) sovereignty by the ECB and the IMF. Both measures had/have a significant influence on the party political and democratic development of those countries. The coexistence of people in Europe – concerning national issues as well as the prospects of a transnational democracy – is currently subject to similar authoritarian coping strategies of the crisis of capitalism as in the interwar period. With the help of this conference, transform! europe is attempting to develop a progressive Danube and Central Europe strategy as an antithesis to the conservative-authoritarian Visegrád group, and invites you to submit scientific papers tackling the following issues:

  • How expedient are Austromarxist theory and practice for a contemporary progressive strategy? What can be learned from Otto Bauer’s ‘third way’ or the ‘historical compromise’? What needs to be unlearned?
  • What is the echo of Austromarxism in the European Left, especially in the countries of the Danube region and Central Europe? How can a shared tradition of knowledge help build a common strategy?
  • What role can parties play in and towards revolutionary movements today?

  • What does Austromarxism (not) say about gender democracy? What are the basics for an Austromarxist feminist theory and practice?
  • What form of ‘revolutionary legwork’ do progressive forces need today? What roles do and can trade unions, associations and social movements play in this?
  • How did Austromarxism address issues of international cooperation? What is to be gained from them for the present European society?


Date: 30-31 October 2018 (on the occasion of the publication of the StGBl. No. 1/1918 as the founding document of the Republic of Austria)

Location: Brick 5, Vienna

Conference language: English and German with simultaneous translations

Costs: The organizers assume the expenses of travel and accommodation. Scholars with vulnerable employment additionally receive a lecture fee of EUR 400, –

If needed, childcare will be provided during the conference.

We ask you to send abstracts of about 3,000 characters to by 15 March 2018. Feedback and possible invitation to the conference will take place until the end of April 2018.