Report on the Conference “Education for a Society of Solidarity” in Vienna

On 19 and 20 October, an international conference entitled “Education for a Society of Solidarity” took place in Vienna. The Austrian member organisation of transform! europe – transform!at – was co-organizing. The aim of this conference was to take first steps towards a European left manifesto on education.

Co-organized by the working group of the European Left Party on Education, the Austrian Communist Party and the Austrian Communist Students’ Association, the conference opened a space for analysis, discussion and the development of possible common demands. On the first day, three keynote speeches, by EL-working group coordinator Sonja Crivelli (Party of Labour, Switzerland), Erich Ribolits (education scientist, Austria) and Birge Krondorfer (feminist political philosopher, Austria) on the history of education in Europe, the concept of education and the importance of feminist education set the theoretical framework of the conference.

The second day was dedicated to discussions in working groups in which the analysis was deepened and demands formulated for the different levels of education and along the thematic axes of austerity, movements, migration, gender and democracy. Discussions were very fruitful, convergences and concrete proposals were presented to the plenary.

Throughout the conference the extremely difficult situation and crisis of public education, especially in Greece, was a recurring topic. It was emphasized by participants that facing this economic and political crisis it is even more important for the Left in Europe to find common forms of struggles and to reject social selection and austerity, all throughout the continent.

For the speeches and inputs on the conference, please refer to the website