Transform!Danmark organized its fourth international conference on 15 March in Copenhagen on the issue of economic and ecological alternatives to mainstream thinking, politics, and debate.
This time, however, we clearly aimed at a more radical perspective, taking into account the urgent need for a debate on developing alternatives to growth – and to Capitalism, which reflected in the title and many of the contributions of the conference on 15 March 2015. The need for popular movement and mobilization and pressure from below in order to make change was also a key issue.
Transform!Danmark has organized four conferences over the past four years focusing on the themes contributing to the necessary sustainable and just transformation and change of society globally. These conferences, including the last one, have attracted a very large and mixed audience with regard to background and age – very many young people – of the broad left wing (social movements, political parties and universities) concerned with the multiple crises of our time and the general political situation.
Besides Transform!Danmark and transform! europe the conference was co-organized by Enhedslisten/the Red-Green Alliance, the Danish radical left party, as well as a number of leftwing periodicals, environmental and other NGOs, a left wing educational association etc.
General Assessment: Austerity is succeeding and the left is in crisis
The two previous conferences have focused largely on the issue of ecological and just alternatives, whereas the first conference in March 2012 had a European focus: “Crisis in Europe – Left Alternatives”.
The recent conference tried to follow-up in particular on the two last conferences, but this time consciously to link the issues of economic and ecological alternatives. We did not completely succeed in doing this – the positions of the morning session’s two speakers were simply too far apart (see the report below). But we are convinced that this approach is urgently needed and should be the focus of our next conference as well.
One important general – but pessimistic – assessment of the panel of speakers on the present state of affairs regarding the strength of the left: that austerity has so far succeeded and that the left is in crisis.
Eight international speakers from Europe and beyond had been invited to inspire and contribute with their knowledge, expertise and reflections. It is important to underline that in a Danish context, it is a unique opportunity for many on the broad left to be able to participate in a one-day conference with such a large number of highly qualified international speakers. Their contributions were remarkable.
The conference had three sessions: A main session in the morning, and two parallel seminars in the afternoon, with an ecological and an economic focus respectively.
After the conference a book reception was held, as the left wing editors (and periodical) Solidaritet had published Danish versions of books by two of the speakers of the conference: Richard Seymour and Linn Stalsberg.