Archiv für Oktober 2015

Erstes Nov.-Wochenende in FfM – Kongreß: „The Crisis of Europe – A Crisis for the Left?“

FRI­DAY NOV 6

14:00 – 16:30: Panel: What is a poli­ti­cal Party for the Left?

Mode­ra­tor: Lucy Par­ker

In spite of many dif­fe­rent poli­ti­cal cur­rents and ten­den­cies, per­haps the most signi­fi­cant ques­tion infor­ming the „Left“ today is the issue of „poli­ti­cal party.” Various „Left unity“ initia­ti­ves have been taking place in the after­math of the 2008 eco­no­mic cri­sis and sub­se­quent down­turn, fol­lo­wing Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring, alongs­ide con­ti­nuing „post-​​political“ ten­den­cies inheri­ted from the 1980s-​​90s (per­spec­tives such as expres­sed by Hardt and Negri’s Empire, Mul­ti­tude, and Com­mon­wealth, John Holloway’s Change the World wit­hout Taking Power, the Invi­si­ble Committee’s The Com­ing Insur­rec­tion, the Cali­for­nia stu­dent pro­tes­tors‘ Com­mu­ni­que from an Absent Future), the for­ma­tion of SYRIZA in Greece, and the new party Pode­mos in Spain (who reject the orga­ni­zed „Mar­xist Left“ as well as the esta­blis­hed labor uni­ons as part of the exis­ting „poli­ti­cal caste“). In Ger­many, Die Linke appears poi­sed to break into high poli­ti­cal office. At the same time, there has been a gro­wing cri­sis of the lar­gest „ortho­dox Mar­xist“ („Trotsky­ist“) poli­ti­cal orga­niza­ti­ons in the Anglo­phone and Wes­tern Euro­pean coun­tries, which has been cha­rac­te­ri­zed as the „cri­sis of (‚actually exis­ting‘) Leni­nism“ in the deve­l­o­ped capi­ta­list coun­tries. New publi­ca­ti­ons have emer­ged such as Jaco­bin maga­zine, N+1 and End­no­tes jour­nals, as a new „mill­en­nial Mar­xism.“ And there has emer­ged a rela­ted dis­cus­sion of the legacy of Mar­xism in prin­ci­ples ofpo­li­ti­cal orga­niza­tion going back to the Second Inter­na­tio­nal 1889-​​1914 („neo-​​Kautskyism“), for instance in Lars Lih’s revi­sio­nist history of Lenin and Bols­he­vism and the Com­mu­nist Party of Great Britain’s mem­ber Mike Macnair’s book Revo­lu­tio­nary Stra­tegy (2008), the lat­ter occa­sio­ned by the for­ma­ti­ons of the Respect Party in the U.K. and the Nou­veau Parti Anti­ca­pi­ta­liste in France. Today, per­haps the most signi­fi­cant ques­tion fac­ing the „Left“ inter­na­tio­nally is goes all the way back to Marx’s dis­pute with the anar­chists in the First Inter­na­tio­nal: What would it mean for the Left to take „poli­ti­cal action“ today?
Howe­ver, the issue of “poli­ti­cal party” seems to gene­rate more pro­blems for the Left than it sol­ves. For­ma­li­zed poli­ti­cal orga­niza­tion would appear indis­pens­a­ble for a long term per­spec­tives beyond the ebb and flow of move­ments. Yet the role of a party in sus­tai­ning activity and dis­con­t­ents over time — of buil­ding towards a revo­lu­tion — has had, at best an ambi­va­lent legacy, lea­ding as much to ratio­na­li­zing poli­ti­cally inef­fec­tive stra­te­gies or giving cover for various forms of oppor­tu­nism (e.g. refor­mism, caree­rism, etc.). Today the idea of poli­ti­cal par­ties as a means for the Left — through which the neces­sity for social trans­for­ma­tion could be deve­l­o­ped wit­hin society — as oppo­sed to an end in its­elf, is dif­fi­cult to envi­sion both theo­re­ti­cally and prac­tically. Yet the exis­ting default --poli­tics wit­hout par­ties — seems unable to do more than give sanc­tion to the vicis­si­tu­des through which capi­ta­lism chan­ges, but inva­ria­bly per­sists. Worse still, wit­hout par­ties of its own, the Left is forced to eit­her pas­si­vely or actively sup­port or at least place hopes in other par­ties. There appears no esca­ping the ques­tion of Poli­ti­cal Party for the Left.

18:00: ​OPENING PLE­NARY: What is the Euro­pean Union and should we be against it?

Mode­ra­tor: Tho­do­ris Velis­sa­ris

A united and peace­ful Europe see­med to be a dis­tant dream for a gene­ra­tion which went through the expe­ri­ence of war and destruc­tion. Today, this hope gai­ned shape in the new rea­li­ties of the Euro­pean Union. Des­pite its offi­cial pro­cla­ma­tion of peace, social well being and an “alter­na­tive to capi­ta­lism and com­mu­nism” the pro­ject finds its­elf in a pro­lon­ged cri­sis with uncer­tain expec­ta­ti­ons. The Euro-​​­crisis, mas­sive aus­te­rity and the incre­a­sing inter­fe­rence into demo­cra­tic prin­ci­ples, a gro­wing divi­sion bet­ween power­ful and weak eco­no­mies, Germany’s new hege­mony and the gro­wing influ­ence of finan­cial capi­tal appear in stark con­trast to the offi­cial slo­gans of “Euro­pean values and soli­da­rity”.
The des­pe­rate struggle of SYRIZA demons­tra­ted the neces­sity and see­ming impos­si­bi­lity of the Left across Europe to ans­wer with a poli­tics that would be truly inter­na­tio­nal and go beyond “resis­ting aus­te­rity.” Des­pite gro­wing social unrest, the deep ambi­va­lence towards the EU expres­ses its­elf in the ina­bi­lity of the Left to for­mu­late a cohe­rent vision of a poli­ti­cal alter­na­tive. At the same time the rejec­tion of the EU is ceded to a gro­wing Right. What is the EU for the Left today? Should it be over­come on the basis of the EU its­elf, or against the EU? The cla­ri­fi­ca­tion of its nature and appro­priate respon­ses seem to be one of the most pres­sing issues for the Left on the con­ti­nent and beyond.

SATUR­DAY NOV 7

11:00 – 13:00: ​PANEL: Elec­to­ral Poli­tics and the Left: Pro­blems and Pro­s­pects

Mode­ra­tor: Lau­rie Rojas (mehr…)