• Editorial

  • Walter Baier | 02 Dec 13
  • With the current issue 13 of our journal we are, after seven years of continuous publication in at least four languages, introducing a change of our production strategy. Instead of a journal published at intervals of half a year, transform! europe will from next year on present a year-book the volume of which will be corresponding to the two issues of the journal.

    The year-book, which will for the first time be published in autumn, will be focusing on specific topics, supplemented by contributions on the situation of the Left in Europe and in individual countries. By that we want to continue our efforts of creating an archive of the Left in Europe in the course of time.

    Like before, the newly conceived year-book will also be created in a joint European working process to which all the members and observers of our network can contribute and it will be published in different languages. Yet, by cooperation with befriended publishing houses we want to provide a new basis for distribution and thus raise the sales figures.

    The offer transform! is thus making to its friends, readers and interested observers will be supplemented by a new publication format bearing the title “Research and Discussion Papers” (working title), which will at irregular intervals, but at least four times a year, present the results of the research initiated by transform! Besides that, we intend the further expansion of our multilingual electronic media, i.e. the website (http://www.transform-network.net/home.html) and the newsletter (http://www.transform-network.net/newsletter.html). With the change of our publication strategy we do not intend a reduction but an expansion of our publishing activity, aiming at increasing its flexibility and usefulness as well for social and political actors as critical scholars.

    This is not the chance to review the seven years of publication of our journal “transform!” and to critically evaluate it. Both as regards its quantity as well as its quality, the focus of almost 300 published contributions from 29 countries was on the discussion of the capitalist crisis which was triggered at the US real estate market in 2007, from there spilled over to Europe, where it developed into a crisis of the integration process and of politics. The least our journal can claim for itself in this context is that it not only facilitated a European working and discussing process through its European character but also that it initiated a process of convergence in both the analyses and strategic considerations of the organisations contributing to it.

    The result of this cooperative process has been made accessible in four languages and in a user-friendly manner on the transform! europe website. We want to take this opportunity and thank all our authors, the team of translators which has over the years increased considerably, the technical co-workers and the readers accompanying us.

    The change of our production strategy is the result of a debate which lasted for almost a year and was eventually decided upon by the members’ assembly which transform! europe was holding in Athens from 18-19 September this year.

    Today, transform! is uniting 27 organisations from 19 European countries as members and observers. It presents itself as consolidated in its internal structures as well as its relationship to the European Left Party our network is associated with. In some political fields, its influence has increased, new partners have been won, regional expansion is proceeding and more possibilities are opening up.

    But the conclusion we arrived at our members’ assembly was that if we want to further extend our influence, enhance our involvement in social movements and in critical scientific discourses, especially if we are set to confront the European challenges originating in the crisis, changes in our working methods and structures are required. Without giving up the strength of being a pluralistic network, a community of independent organisations, transform! must sharpen its profile and character of a European political foundation. This demands an upgrading of your institutionalisation and professionalization, while not dispensing with transform!’s second strength, namely the integration of volunteer work.

    In the sense of the word of a European political foundation, we must focus even more in our selection of topics on questions of European relevance. The division into two “major projects” – “Crisis/Crises” and “Strategies of the ‘Radical’ Left” – currently practised has proved successful and shall be continued.

    In order to make use of existing working contexts and new possibilities opening up by the promising start of the network ‘Academia’, a space of cooperation between critical scholars and transform! we must concentrate our efforts on ways of producing more communicable output.

    In this sense the new publication format already mentioned, ‘Research and Discussion Papers’, will be of particular importance. These papers should then be presented and discussed in workshops, transform! board meetings, the EL Summer University, with social movements and critical intellectuals the EL, the left group in the European Parliament, the GUE/NGL and, last but not least, with the leadership of European radical left parties, deputies and decision-making bodies.

    The issue 13 of our journal and the last one of its kind in the series, is once again dedicated to the analysis of the capitalist crisis and its dramatic effects on Europe. In this context, what we are particularly interested in are the possibilities and preconditions for change. This question is dealt with in contributions from the perspectives of social movements, trade unions and new movements, the critical academic as well as the political fields and especially with regard to the severe social and political conflicts in Europe which are subject of the debate at the Fourth Congress of the Party of the European Left and the elections to the European parliament.  

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    As always we have entrusted the design of our front page to an artist whose works are also displayed in the pages of the journal. Kostas Christopoulos is an Athens based visual artist. He studied painting in Athens and Berlin and is a Ph.D. candidate in political sciences at the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki (see www.kostaschristopoulos.com).

    The works he has created especially for transform! are hommages to John Heartfield (Helmut Herzfeld). They combine painting, collage and de-collage from newspapers and other sources.