‘The Laughter of Medusa: The Left in Europe’

Strategy Seminar

Gian Lorenzo Bernini – Medusa tra luce ed emozione

Veranstaltungszentrum Europahaus Wien
Linzer Straße 429
1140 Vienna

The annual strategic seminar of transform! europe and Rosa Luxemburg Foundation focuses on the political actors of the radical left in Europe and their ability to provide programmatic and strategic answers to current challenges, to build alternatives and to further develop forms of political organization.


It is a question of the left-wing actors not only in national, but also in European level, their effectiveness and capacity to initiate a political change by creating – among others – left and progressive alliances that will contribute to the long-term project of a left hegemony. Despite the successes achieved by left forces in specific countries, the left as a political subject is still on the defensive. It is therefore, always, essential to organize strategic and programmatic debates not only analyzing the reasons of our victories or our defeats, but also on the fundamental weaknesses of our narrative, our structures and our communication channels.

Thus, we see this seminar as the space where political actors, academics and young scholars, as well as activists and trade unionists come together in order to critically discuss the very thorny topics of modern left politics in Europe.

Aim of the seminar

The workshop will first analyse the social and political upheavals in Europe, identify the shakeouts of political systems and power relations in Europe and draw conclusions for the left in Europe. So what are the new challenges for the political left ten years after the outbreak of the crisis (rise of the far right, transformation of democracy and statehood) and how can the left react to them?

In times of transition, of interregnum, where completely different developments seem to be possible: could a left project succeed in developing strategies for a political change in the respective countries and in the European level? How can left-wing actors, especially left-wing parties at national and European level, succeed in pointing out alternative paths of development by translating their programmatic positions into concrete policies, amplification of political pressure towards them and transforming new practices into collective action? What are the leverages and weaknesses of the respective projects and where can these projects be developed?

The aim of the seminar is to present the strengths and weaknesses of Europe’s left-wing parties and to discuss their strategic options for future struggles. This not only includes the deepening of knowledge about concrete challenges the left faces in specific European countries, but also the concretization of left policies as a method and a process, namely policy areas which left-wing majorities can stand for: The social question, peace and democracy.

At the end of the seminar, there will be an attempt to bring together the connecting elements or modules discussed in order to trace the strategies that could shape left-wing policies in today’s Europe.


Angelina Giannopoulou, giannopoulou@transform-network.net





12.00 – 13.00 Registration and lunch (buffet)


13:00 – 13:30Welcome and Introduction: Status of the radical Left in Europe

Angelina Giannopoulou, Facilitator of transform!


13:30 – 16:00The role of the Left in a changing global balance of power

moderation: Cornelia Hildebrandt, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation

Renato Soeiro, Bloco de Esquerda

Helmut Scholz, MEP Die Linke


16:00 –  16:30Coffee Break


16:30 – 19.00The state of affairs in the European radical left: new or reformed party-projects and paneuropean coalitions

moderation: Angelina Giannopoulou, Facilitator of transform!

methodology: Inputs, rounds of questions, general political discussion


The case of Spain, Pilar Moura, Co-Responsible for Political Campaigns and Analysis of Izquierda Unida Exterior  & Federico Severino, Ιnstituto 25M

The case of Italy, Salvatore Prinzi, Potere al Popolo



19:30 – xx Dinner at a restaurant  






09:00 – 12.00Qualitative characteristics of the right swift in European politics and the counter-strategies of the Left

moderation: Barbara Steiner, Director of transform!


Introductory speech by Mario Candeias, Director of the Institute for Critical Social Analysis of the RLS


→ “The strategic dilemma of the Front National”, Antoine De Cabanes, Facilitator of transform-Researcher at Espaces Marx

→ ”Austria: A paradigmatic case of the mainstream of Far Right”, Walter Baier, Political Coordinator of transform

→ “The rise of the illiberal democracy in Poland – actors, impacts & resistance”, Liliana Religa, Communications and Promotions Coordinator in the Federation for Women and Family Planning in Poland

→ “The nationalist radicalization in Ukraine”, Volodymyr Ishchenko, Sociologist, Kiev Polytechnic Institute, Ukraine


→ Presentation of the research project of Sozialismus by Richard Detje on the Far Right          


12.00 – 13.00 Lunch Break 


13.00-15.00The governmental experience in Greece and Portugal: lessons we can learn

moderation: Tatiana Moutinho, Facilitator of transform!

Methodology: inputs and commenting

Commentator: Haris Golemis, Scientific and Strategic Advisor of transform!

→ The case of Greece, Danae Koltsida, General Counsel of the General Secretary of the Ministry of Interior and member of the Central Committee of SYRIZA

→ The case of Portugal, Renato Soeiro, Bloco de Esquerda


15.00-15.15 Coffee Break


15.15 – 18.00  Building blocks for left policies in Europe: The social, economical and ecological transformation

moderation:  Roland Kulke, Facilitator of transform!

Common presentation “For a social consensus” by Thilo Janssen and Henrik Andersen, Policy Advisers in the EP (DIE LINKE & Red Green Alliance)

Theodora Kotsaka (on Commons), Dr. of Political Sociology – Researcher at Nicos Poulantzas Institute

Giorgos Chondros (on Social Solidarity Economy), Department of European Affairs, SYRIZA



19.00 – Dinner




09.30 – 11.30 Building blocks for left policies in Europe: Peace, trade and security policy

Input and moderation: Jukka Pietiläinen,  Director of the “Left Forum” in Finland


Erhard Chrome, Consultant for Peace and Security Policy at the Institute for Social Analysis of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation

Lucia Barcena, Trade campaigner at Ecologistas en Acción


11.30 – 12.00 Coffee Break


12.00 – 13.15 → “The political implications of the reorganisation of the class structure at a European level” by  Yann Le Lann, Sociologist and President of Espaces Marx and Pablo Livigni, Researcher at Espaces Marx


13.15-14.15  Lunch

14.15-15.15  Discussing with the President of the Party of the European Left, Gregor Gysi

Interviewed by Angelina Giannopoulou, Facilitator of transform!