Where Does the Left in Europe Stand?

Gathered in Brussels on 6 December, transform! members and researchers from across Europe were sharing experiences and debating major issues: Where does the Left in Europe stand? In what direction will the present contradictions and the new political constructions develop?

[nl] With a massive decline of its southern countries’ economies and a stagnation of the others, the EU is facing a crisis that doesn’t originate from the Euro itself but rather from the very foundation of the unfair economic and monetary policy that led to the Euro as we know it. Neither the right-wing parties nor the Social-Democrats seem able to provide a cure other than austerity measures.
As Javier Navascués pointed out, to build an effective alternative left model for the EU and therefore to propose a way out of the crisis, one must start with identifying the core ideology of the European integration and its specific power relations. To Haris Golemis, although there is a consensus among the fractions of national capitals towards a European homogenization, this remains yet to be achieved. Will this ambition ever be reached, given that the nation states are still playing a very central role? Moreover, the unity of the leading classes in view of the scope of the recession is questionable. Up to which point can one speak of a European bourgeoisie? According to Pierre Khalfa, the system is showing cracks: the differences of view over the role of the ECB and the management of the Greek debt may compromise the unity of the leading classes. There is a window of opportunity for the Left.
The question of redistributing wealth (between both classes and countries) is of crucial importance not only to oppose capitalism, but also to promote a European class consciousness and to avoid national confrontations. Elisabeth Gauthier added that an integral alternative logic would also take the necessity into account of renewing the European institutions.
Together with a larger implication of the citizens in the decision-making process, a more class conflict-oriented perspective on the crisis would ease the new nationalism fed by the sharp divisions within societies and between countries. Redistribution and solidarity should be the two sides of a left project.

Speakers: Walter Baier (coordinator of transform!), Elisabeth Gauthier (Espaces Marx, France), Javier Navascués (Marxist Research Foundation, Spain), Haris Golemis (NPI, Greece), Cornelia Hildebrandt (Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Germany), Pierre Khalfa (Fondation Copernic, France), Felipe Van Keirsbilck (Confédération des Syndicats Chrétiens, Belgium), Kate Hudson (Coalition of Resistance, UK), Marc Delepouve (FSU, France), Roberto Morea (transform! Italia), Elena Papadopoulou (NPI, Greece), and Nuno Moniz (Cultra, Portugal).