• 26 Abril 2013 - 27 Abril 2013
  • Vienna
  • Working language:


    Austria Trend Hotel Doppio
    Rennweg 99
    1030 Vienna


    Please register!

  • transform! europe Left Strategy Project
  • Seeking Political Hegemony

  • The seminar in the frame of transform!’s priority programme on Left Strategies deals with polarizing democracies and left parties at the crossroads of economic and political crisis.

    Day 1: The Anti-Systemic Politics of Serving the System: The two Faces of the Extreme Right

    The revival of Extreme Right rhetoric and politics throughout Europe brings up once again the issue of Left strategy towards Fascism. The two sessions proposed hereby aim at deepening the discussion on issues of extreme right discourse and agendas. Particular emphasis will be placed on the way by which concepts associated with traditional conservative values such as fatherland, nation, security and family are integrated in the identity politics of the Extreme Right.

    Given the fact that these concepts are returning at the forefront of the current political debate and woe all the more the European public, irrespective of political persuasion, the question arises on whether the Left is in position to turn them in its favor or at least to tackle them efficiently.

    Another crucial issue to be raised is the infiltration of Extreme Right’s identity and culture in social categories previously alien to it, such as the youth. Being a bastion of Left politics during the post-war, nowadays parts of the youth seem to endorse extreme right ideals. How the Left can reclaim its hegemony in this social category?

    Day 2: Towards a New Authoritarian State

    Traditionally, the idea of Europe has been closely associated with the operation of liberal democracy at the level of national states. Nevertheless, the EU integration process and its clear-cut neoliberal direction have been increasingly challenging this long established credo. Authoritarian politics have started to gain once again a wide currency, particularly at the level of European elites; a trend enhanced by the exigencies of the current capitalist crisis. In this context the EU institutional apparatus shields itself against democratic processes and reproduces its power resources through the nation-states. This process is propelled by the politics of austerity endorsed by the EU elites and the end-result is an authoritarian turn at the level of the nation–states, particularly those undergoing harsh policy adjustments as a means to harness their public deficits. This new authoritarian turn, the centre of which is located at the EU institutional level in the first place, brings about deep seated changes in the relation between the nation-state and the EU institutions in two respects.

    The first is the return of the “nation” in the political agenda. In an attempt to implement their novel realpolitik in the context of authoritarianism, the EU elites attempt to revitalize a vision of Europe based on national antagonisms causing, thus, a disintegration process. The old-time question then arises once again, how the Left deals with the concept of the nation? The second respect concerns the developments taking place inside democracies at the level of the nation-states. Old political cleavages are enfeebled and new political cleavages seem to emerge around the politics of austerity implemented at the level of the nation- states. This development leads, particularly in the southern states, in the emergence of new political actors as pivotal players in the party systems, a case in point being Italy. How is the Left to profit from this new development?


Friday, 26 April


Session 1A: The Extreme Right’s strategy for hegemony: key concepts, political agenda, discourse

Moderator: Panayotis Pantos (NPI, Greece) 

  • René Monzat (France): A successful response to the challenge that key concepts of the Extreme Right constitute for the Left (national identity, security, status quo…)

 12.45-14.00 Lunch


Session 1B: Can the Left reconceptualise notions like nation, security, family values?

  • Roberto Morea, Transform! Italia (Italy)
  • Dan Koivulaakso, Left Forum (Finland)


 15.45-16.00 Break


Session 1C: Strategies of the Left against the Extreme Right

  • Elisabeth Gauthier, ( Espaces Marx, France)
  • Karoly György (MSF-OSF international Secretary, Hungary)
  • Haris Triandafillidou (NPI, Greece)





Public event: How can we fight nationalisms and the Extreme Right in Europe efficiently?

Working language: German

Venue: University of Vienna, Universitätsstr. 1, Hall 28

  • Walter Baier (transform! europe)
  • Haris Triandafillidou (NPI)
  • Elisabeth Gauthier (Espaces Marx)
  • Karoly György (MSZ-OSZ international Secretary)
  • Mathias Wåg (CMS Sweden) (in english)

see facebookevent: http://www.facebook.com/events/367739633336588/


Saturday, 27 April


Session 2A: National Responses to the crisis: Challenges for the Left

  • Walter Baier: How do the elites capitalize on the concept of “nation”? Can the Left turn the concept of “nation” in its favour? Are there any examples from the history of the Left in this direction?
  • Roberto Biorcio (associate professor of sociology, University of Milano): New Political actors in polarized democracies. Is the case of Beppe Grillo the beginning of a success story? Perspectives for the Left.


 10.45-11.00 Break


Session 2B: Europe at the threshold of authoritarianism

  • Mathias Wåg, CMS (Sweden)
  • Jirí Malek, Society for European Dialogue (Czech Republic)


 12.45-14.00 Lunch


Session 2C: Priorities and strategy of the Left against the new authoritarian state

  • Gonçalo Pessa, Cul:tra (Portugal)
  • Gregory Mauze, Association Culturelle Joseph Jacquemotte (Belgium)




Round table: Beyond Authoritarianism and the Far Right: Consolidating the Left Pole in Polarised Democracies

  • Introduction and moderation: Panayotis Pantos (NPI, Greece)