• Report: International transform! Conference in Copenhagen 2016
  • “Red/Green Alternatives – Breaking with Growth and Neo-liberalism”

  • By Inger V. Johansen , Gitte Pedersen | 16 Jun 16 | Posted under: European Alternatives
  • Transform!Danmark organized its fifth international conference on 12 March in Copenhagen on developing left economic and ecological alternatives.

    This was the fifth conference of Transform!Danmark over the past five years focusing on the themes contributing to the necessary sustainable and just transformation and change of society in Europe and globally.

    As opposed to the conferences in 2013 and 2014, which had as their main content alternatives to growth, this conference continued the path of the 2015 conference to link red and green alternatives, as a contribution to bridge the gap between the two, which has often proven to be difficult.

    It is important to underline that as such the Copenhagen conferences take up issues and perspectives – the combination of red and green alternatives – that do not have a primary focus in the work of the transform! europe network. The conferences and their topics include as well a global perspective, inviting speakers both from within and outside Europe in order to open up and enrich the debate and scope of the conferences. As such we consider the Copenhagen conferences crucial contributions to the tactical and strategic work undertaken by transform! europe.

    Including “commons”

    This year’s conference focused on both short-term and strategic aspects of red and green alternatives to growth and neo-liberalism. For the first time the issue of “commons” was dealt with and discussed as an integral part of the economic and ecological alternatives that we are seeking to develop.

    In this connection it should be underlined that the contributions of the morning’s two speakers, Richard Smith from the USA, and Shalmali Guttal from India, who were not familiar with each other’s standpoints and work, complemented each other perfectly.

    Two seminars in the afternoon explored different topics related to the main theme of the conference: On one hand the perspective and role of eco-socialism and eco-feminism in our alternatives; and on the other reflections and alternatives on and to the present crisis, dealing with the experiences from leftwing government in Greece, and an evaluation of the EU as an institution to explore present-day limits to leftwing politics within the EU, and finally recent experiences in the US with growing popular leftwing mobilization and radicalism.

    The conference attracted a large and mixed audience with regard to background and age of the broad left wing (social movements, political parties and universities) concerned with the multiple crises of our time and the general political situation – among them also participants from southern Sweden (i.e. the Left Party in Sweden). The number of participants at this conference was slightly less than previously, which may be due to late advertisement.

    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 and environmental organizations, including a leftwing educational organization, and periodicals.

    Concluding remarks

    As last year the conclusion of the debate and experiences of the day, is the one that linking the economic and ecological alternatives have to be further explored and developed with the issue of “commons” as an integral part of this effort and debate, focusing on how to use commons in transforming society and the limitations to do this.

    This conference showed that there are important global experiences regarding these issues and that to further a global/European exchange of experiences and viewpoints could be a fruitful way to move forward. 

    Written speeches from the conference, see: www.transformdanmark.dk 

    For the conference report please refer to the pdf on the right.

    Speakers at the conference:

    Richard Smith: Six Theses on Saving the Planet
    Shalmali Guttal: The creative power and resistance potential of the commons
    Corinne Morel Darleux: Ecosocialism: a project to reconcile environment and jobs, citizens and politics
    Ariel Salleh: Ecofeminism – listening to the deepest eco-socialist voice
    Haris Golemis: The Radical Left in Government: A Necessary but not Sufficient Condition for Breaking with Neoliberalism
    Asbjørn Wahl: The current crises as an opportunity for social transformation
    Nancy Holmstrom: Promising signs of radical change in consciousness – to reverse the prioritization of private property over collective


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