A seminar in Rome provided space for discussing the numerous crises in Europe and their potential solutions. While the participants did not share all points of analysis put forward, they agreed on the need to break free of the existing framework and the necessity for a reinvention of the left on our continent.
Mario Candeias (RLS), Alfonso Gianni (transform! italia), and Bia Sarasini
(Alternative per il socialismo)
On 20 January in Rome transform! italia, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, transform! europe and Alternative per il Socialismo held a seminar entitled ‘Europe – what's left?’. The event aimed to build upon ameeting held in Berlin in June of last year at the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. At this meeting 22 proposals were put forward to focus on critical aspects of the building of a United Europe and to think about possible points of convergence for the European movements acting against this political and economic construction.
We have also organised this event to coincide with upcoming celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which was signed in 1957 and represents the first step towards the EU as we know it today. The meeting in Rome was attended by representatives from DiEM25, Plan B, members of the political and social left, as well as economists and activists from various movements.
The discussion began with Mario Candeias who presented a thesis outlining the various aspects on which his proposal was based and the philosophy that inspired it: we need to cope with the failure to construct a united Europe, but at the same time deal with the rise in xenophobic and nationalist right-wing parties and a worrying fragmentation of the left in Europe, which curtails our political influence. He proposed approaching the issue in a non-ideological way.
It was the need for confrontation resulting from this dichotomy that caused different approaches to suffer in the general discussion on the left and I believe our attempts here at least managed to engage the interest of people of different opinions and from different points of view without excessive stereotyping.
In addition to defining the analysis of the European integration crisis, the interventions showed a clear setting of positions, as well as some shared points of analysis. The need to break free of the existing framework and the necessity for a reinvention of the left on our continent were steps that all participants highlighted.
The participants also agreed on the fact that a European integration has been created (through various EU treaties) to defeat and marginalise all forms of resistance and alternatives to market forces and neo-liberal policies. As such, what we are facing is not a derailment of a train that has been directed off course, but a project that is fundamentally built upon the devaluation of the world of work and existing forms of democracy.
Of course, differences still remain and probably will stay unresolved, but the discussion was also effective in that it brought out positions in the middle ground that are, in my opinion, not attributable to any of the proposals in the field: they can express the seed of an argument, which may be useful to escape a sterile confrontation.
The question of popular and democratic sovereignty and the definition of a proposal that avoids falling into the trap of the reactionary nationalism of the right, the need to unite around a leftist proposal to break with existing systems and the accumulation of forces needed to be able to realise it still needs to be achieved, but surely creating a space for dialogue between many different political viewpoints remains important and makes a valuable contribution to the growth of a left able to rise to the challenges we face.