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


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.


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

Mode­ra­tor: Lau­rie Rojas

During the 19th cen­tury, suf­frage rights were wide­ned in the heart of capi­tal, con­fron­ting poli­ti­cal radi­cals with the ques­tion of whe­ther and how elec­tive offices could be used to achieve revo­lu­tio­nary aims. Since that time, dif­fe­ren­ces of opi­nion on how to approach elec­to­ral poli­tics have been at issue throug­hout the Left’s most fun­da­men­tal splits: the break bet­ween Mar­xism and anar­chism; the appa­rent capi­tu­la­tion of inter­na­tio­nal social demo­cracy to world war; the struggle for the legacy of the Rus­sian Revo­lu­tion; to capi­ta­list sta­bi­liza­tion and the appa­rent apa­thy to poli­tics that would cha­rac­te­rize our time.
Since the early 20th cen­tury such splits have atten­ded the decline of the Left rather than its ascen­dancy, for­cing recent gene­ra­ti­ons of mar­gi­na­li­zed radi­cals to grapple with an impos­si­ble choice: eit­her a „rea­listic“ elec­to­ral com­pro­mise with the sta­tus quo, often cou­ched in the logic of “les­ser evi­lism,” or a „sec­ta­rian“ elec­to­ral purism doo­med to irre­le­vance, often inspi­red by fide­lity to once-​​revolutionary “cor­rect posi­ti­ons.” This impasse gua­ran­tees a hea­ring for those who, like many Occupy move­ment activists, advo­cate a prin­ci­pled abs­ten­tion from elec­to­ral poli­tics.
With regard to Europe during the last cri­sis, we‘ve wit­nessed the rise of Syriza in Greece and Pode­mos in Spain which indi­cate a shift from popu­lar mobi­liza­tion and move­ment buil­ding, to elec­to­ral stra­te­gies and par­lia­men­tary rep­re­sen­ta­tion. The star­ting point of these social move­ments sever­ely cri­ti­ci­zed exis­ting par­lia­men­tary demo­cracy, yet the idea of faci­li­ta­ting radi­cal cau­ses through elec­to­ral poli­tics and cam­paigns has recently gai­ned pro­mi­nence. This panel tries to bring into ques­tion the signi­fi­cance of elec­to­ral poli­tics in a moment when party rep­re­sen­ta­tion has been lar­gely dele­gi­ti­mi­zed and disap­pro­ved. What are the uses, limits, pro­mi­ses, and perils of elec­to­ral cam­paigns and elec­tive offices for Lef­tist poli­tics?

15:30 – 17:30: ​Panel: Women: The lon­gest Revo­lu­tion?

  • Cor­ne­lia Möser
  • Joy McRe­ady
  • A namesake of Juliet Mitchell’s 1966 essay, this panel will explore the long history of the struggle for women’s libe­ra­tion from the van­tage point of the Left today. Mit­chell cri­ti­ques bour­geois femi­nist demands such as the right to work and equal pay to posit the need instead for equal work. She calls for a poli­tics capable of taking on the fun­da­men­tal trans­for­ma­tion of society and more imme­diate demands “in a sin­gle cri­ti­que of the whole of women’s situa­tion.” In keeping with the spi­rit of this essay, we ask again what the rela­ti­onship might be bet­ween the struggle for social eman­ci­pa­tion and the par­ti­cu­lar tasks of femi­nism? How have Lef­tists ima­gi­ned this rela­ti­onship his­to­ri­cally? What do we make of it today?
    While the “woman ques­tion” has played an import­ant role in the history of the Left, its knee-​​jerk inclu­sion in cur­rent Lef­tist poli­tics does not neces­sa­rily reflect a grea­ter under­stan­ding of what the struggle for women’s libe­ra­tion might mean poli­ti­cally. How exactly is it “the lon­gest revo­lu­tion?” When did it begin? If the cri­sis of bour­geois society in the indus­trial revo­lu­tion posed the need for women’s free­dom as inse­pa­ra­ble from the pro­ject of human eman­ci­pa­tion, then what do we make of the later sepa­ra­tion of the femi­nist move­ment from the workers’ move­ment for socia­lism? In the begin­ning of the 20th Cen­tury the womans move­ment seems to demand unitary for poli­ti­cal and legal rights, alt­hough the bour­geois femi­nist move­ment and the socia­list womans move­ment where dis­tinctly oppo­sed in their poli­ti­cal per­spec­tive. Is the rele­vance of the con­flict gone all­to­ge­ther with a fur­ther per­spec­tive of the womans ques­tion in Socia­lism? What do the see­ming suc­ces­ses of femi­nism tell us when thought in rela­tion to the failure of the pro­le­ta­rian struggle to deepen/​realize the task of human free­dom?

    18:30 – 21:00: ​CLO­SING PLA­NERY: Socia­lism, Demo­cracy, Social Demo­cracy

    • Ursula Jen­sen (IBT)
    • Paul Demarty (CPGB)
    • Domi­nik Hei­lig (LINKE)

    Mode­ra­tor: Richard Rubin

    The con­di­ti­ons for the novel poli­ti­cal for­ma­ti­ons of Syriza and Pode­mos deve­l­o­ped out of the dis­in­te­gra­tion of the tra­di­tio­nal Social Demo­cra­tic par­ties. Howe­ver, pre­ci­sely when his­to­ri­cal con­scious­ness is most necessary, the pro­ject of social demo­cracy seems to be fading from memory. Little remains of the foun­da­tion moment of Social Demo­cracy today, both in prac­tice and thought.
    In the late nine­teenth cen­tury, working people’s response to capi­tal was expres­sed in the poli­ti­cal demand for Socia­lism. This demand gal­va­ni­zed the for­ma­tion of Euro­pean Social Demo­cra­tic par­ties gui­ded by the ideo­logy of Mar­xism. Among the most influ­en­tial mem­bers of the Ger­man Social Demo­cra­tic Party, the poli­ti­cal lea­ders of the Second Inter­na­tio­nal, agreed that the pri­mary task of Social Demo­cra­tic par­ties was brin­ging about the dic­ta­tor­ship of the pro­le­ta­riat, that is, the decisive poli­ti­cal struggle bet­ween capi­tal and labor. And while some of these lef­tist ulti­mately found the revo­lu­tion too risky in the decisive deca­des of the 1910s and 1920s, even their poli­ti­cal judg­ment is far to the left to those Social Demo­cra­tic party mem­bers who, after World War II, openly espou­sed the inte­gra­tion of workers into a more just and thus more demo­cra­tic capi­ta­list order.
    Once a glo­bal move­ment for the self-​​emancipation of the working class, today’s social demo­cra­tic par­ties have fully sub­sti­tu­ted the task of edu­ca­ting workers in order to over­throw capi­ta­lism, with the task of crea­ting and main­tai­ning the con­di­ti­ons for a more just mar­ket eco­nomy. The pre­sent stand­point of social demo­cracy is society as such, bound by natio­nal eco­no­mies and media­ted by the state. Social Demo­cracy today pro­mi­ses to fight social injustice in the name of the people, but it no lon­ger pro­mi­ses to rea­lize socia­lism.
    Yet what remains is the name, and with it the pro­mise and the pro­blem of Social Demo­cracy.
    In this panel we would like to inves­ti­gate this trans­for­ma­tion by loo­king at the history, the birth and decline, of Social Demo­cracy. How can we under­stand the his­to­ri­cal cri­sis of social demo­cracy for the Left today? How, if at all, could the tra­jec­tory of social demo­cracy shed light on pro­blems yet to be superse­ded on the Left today?


    11:00 – 12:30: ​PANEL: What is the aim of an edu­ca­tio­nal pro­ject?

    • Richard Rubin
    • Lucy Par­ker
    • Glauk Tahiri

    Mode­ra­tor: Han­nah Schro­eder

    Panel Descrip­tion: Com­ing soon…


    http://​pla​ty​pus1917​.org/​2​0​1​5​-​e​u​r​o​p​e​a​n​-​c​o​n​f​e​r​ence/ – Links zu Orga­ni­sa­tio­nen teil­weise aus­ge­tauscht

    Vgl.: http://​www​.trend​.info​par​ti​san​.net/​t​r​d​0​8​1​5​/​t​5​3​0​8​1​5​.html

    1. „Eine wäh­rend der 1980er-​​Jahre in die Par­tei ein­ge­si­ckerte trotz­kis­ti­sche Gruppe um die Zeit­schrift The Leni­nist rekla­mierte auf einer Kri­sen­kon­fe­renz den Par­tei­na­men für sich und tritt seit­her als Com­mu­nist Party of Great Bri­tain (Pro­vi­sio­nal Cen­tral Com­mit­tee) auf.“ (Wiki­pe­dia) [zurück]
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    1 Antwort auf „Erstes Nov.-Wochenende in FfM – Kongreß: „The Crisis of Europe – A Crisis for the Left?““

    1. 1 TaP 05. November 2015 um 16:33 Uhr

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