Austria Trend Hotel Doppio
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.
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?
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?
Session 1A: The Extreme Right’s strategy for hegemony: key concepts, political agenda, discourse
Moderator: Panayotis Pantos (NPI, Greece)
Session 1B: Can the Left reconceptualise notions like nation, security, family values?
Session 1C: Strategies of the Left against the Extreme Right
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
see facebookevent: http://www.facebook.com/events/367739633336588/
Session 2A: National Responses to the crisis: Challenges for the Left
Session 2B: Europe at the threshold of authoritarianism
Session 2C: Priorities and strategy of the Left against the new authoritarian state
Round table: Beyond Authoritarianism and the Far Right: Consolidating the Left Pole in Polarised Democracies