The Summer University was the European Left's first public appointment following the elections, and, despite the fatigue of the electoral campaign, participation was good. Over 220 people registered for the three days of plenary sessions and seminars.
As always, the quality of the interventions was high, and the fact that many of the participants frequently attend such events favoured frank and constructive discussions.
The Summer University certainly represents a setting that allows for in-depth political discussion, without being subjected to the pressure of decisions to be made and without having to take into account motions or documents. All of this favours a more tranquil discussion.
Limiting the number of speakers on the panels had a positive effect and paved the way for greater dialogue with the audience. It left room for a wider and more open discussion with participants.
The logistics also favoured involvement as they allowed for easy navigation in fairly close spaces that could easily be accessed.
I believe that the topics chosen as the focus for the various days also identified some key questions in contemporary economic and social processes.
I found the debate that emerged on what we referred to as "the crisis of globalisation" particularly interesting. Some of the contributions questioned this affirmation, and I think a more in-depth discussion on how globalised capitalism is changing but continues to dominate and effectively control all economic and social processes would be opportune. In fact, if we look at the situation in the European Union, at the agreements arising from the vote and the appointments of the Commission's top management, it seems clear that we are building a structure in which sovereigntists and elites are marching side by side. They are implementing policies of austerity and growth that push for privatisation and competitiveness, all at the expense of the planet itself.
Indeed, the environment was one of the issues addressed alongside a new development model looking at ecological reconversion as inextricably linked to social justice, without which no "green" policy can be effective.
The session dedicated to the issue of gender had a high number of participants. It helped to take stock of the next mobilisation appointments for the feminist movement, which is truly an international undertaking.
With regard to the Left and the strategies that must be put in place, such as how to deal with the rise in xenophobia and racism, and the populism of the Right, I think we can say that, although some differentiation remains, all contributions showed an awareness of the European situation and a willingness to tackle all the issues without taboos. The first of these is undoubtedly the Left’s experience in terms of government. For a long time, the fear of not being able to agree and of ending up fighting without finding a compromise has caused us to hide away and ignore different positions and judgments.
I believe that these different opinions can now be discussed and addressed without the fear of destroying what has been so painstakingly built.
The workshops on the fight against the gentrification of Airbnb and on the issue of the media were particularly interesting. The latter laid the foundations for a strengthening of transversal communication spaces.
As ever, time spent at tables and in free spaces allowed for direct exchanges of opinion and in-depth analysis, something that is particularly helpful for people who are not always in touch.
In my opinion, this experience was useful and profitable. I am sure that the run-up to the Congress of the European Left Party will also benefit from what was cultivated in Fiuggi, in terms of both content and relationships.
Please find on the right Cornelia Hildebrandts presentation On the Political Power Relations after the European Elections and the Situation of the Left – First Considerations (PDF).