• Seminar II
  • Meaning, Subjects and Spaces of Transformation

  • 14 Apr 10
  • International workshop by transform! europe in cooperation with transform! italia, Florence, 29-30 May 2010

    Strategic Perspectives of the Left in Europe (2)


    First Conclusions

    The aggravation of the crisis and the fact that it has arrived in the midst of societies was also in the focus of the transform!-seminar “Meaning, Subjects and Spaces of Transformation” which constituted the second chapter of our project on the “Strategic Perspectives of the Left in Europe”. This reflected also the specific character of the crisis which capitalism is undergoing at the moment, namely a crisis of a systemic quality. It is obvious that in the crisis we are confronted with an offensive of the ruling class against the working classes and the majority of the populations.

    The hypothesis presented at the beginning of the seminar departed from the Gramscian idea that any progressive social transformation must have as its starting point the real lives of the people. Yet to become effective, these interests must translate into alternative politics, which has as its basis an alternative logic of social development. This means that every transformation presupposes the political and cultural construction of a new historic bloc which connects the elements of the economic basis and the superstructure of the state and of culture in a new way. For this new historical bloc the term of a “new paradigm” or of a “new model of development” was repeatedly used in the debate.

    The most speakers highlighted that this new paradigm or the new historic bloc will not consist in the unbroken continuation of the paradigm of the traditional labour movement which has been informed by Fordism. The generalisation of information technologies, which revolutionalies the working world accompanied by the social precarisation which affects an ever growing part of the labour force results as some of the speakers said in a “crisis of labour” or its degradation by the ruling classes as others seem to conceptualise the process.

    A new paradigm or a new model of development will also rest on the recognition that the capitalist modes of production, consumption and living have reached their ecological boundaries. We have to integrate the ecological perspective into left thinking or into a new class consciousness.

    In this debate linked to the concept of a “crisis of civilisation” contradictions which exist in reality come into play. The crisis is perceived in different ways in different regions of the globe and by different social classes and expressed in different languages (“Mother Earth”). The development of a new common language is an important component in the process of re-foundation of the Left. This is all the more relevant as the European societies include nowadays big communities of immigrants whose social and political rights the Left is defending. But of course this means also that the subject of a progressive transformation is changing as well. Also in the area of gender and sex relations a new integration is necessary.  

    Agenda

    Session I

    “Transformation” as a Concept and the Struggle for Elements of a New Hegemony. Can we sketch elements and structures of a new social block. How does such a block link the social, the political and cultural aspects? What means “Gender-Political Perspective”? How capitalism tries to preserve his hegemony?

    Session II 

    The Future of Work – What it is at stake? Trends in the Material Production, “General Intellect”, Changes in the social structures: questions of employment, precariousness. Labour and the global crisis of the accumulation and regulation model. Old and new conflicts. Problems of the political subjectivity. Possible Coalitions.

    Session III

    The Capitalist Economy at the Limits of the Eco-System – On the social content of the ecological question. Can it be formulated as a as a question referring to the concept of relations of production? How is it related to the concept of a new model of development? How can it be integrated in a hegemonic concept?

    Session IV 

    Country Case Studies + The Italian Case (On the basis of formulated questions)

    Session V

    Migration and transformation

    Session VI 

    Perception of the Crisis: What opinion research reveals

    Session VII 

    Panel Discussion: Facing the existential crisis in Europe, how to conceive the struggle aiming the EU transformation in this context, on the European and the national level?