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Can we master new powers in the economic field? What type of society could we build? How can we develop new strategies to broaden democracy in economy, and the enterprises, and this under the pressure of shareholders and stock markets became a key issue for trade-unionists, the political Left and social movements?
Nowadays, the global economic crisis reveals more clearly the acute contradictions of contemporary capitalism. It questions the legitimacy of big business, especially its inability to manage economy for the well being of the people. Economic power is at the heart of this struggle. How can we develop new strategies to broaden democracy in economy, and the enterprises, and this under the pressure of shareholders and stock markets became a key issue for trade-unionists, the political Left and social movements?
We must develop concepts, tools, alternative proposals and look for new experiences. The concept of Economic democracy allows us to scrutinize the economic powers from a global point of view. This concept takes us away from the economic and social status quo, i.e. the contemporary capitalism. It may attract a growing number of people fighting the deep crisis of values that we are facing now, including those of the big business and their spokespersons still defending neo-liberal policies.
We must, in relation with economic democracy, change the structure and the way powers work in economy and enterprises, as well as in the political institutions. Thus, we must go beyond the type of democracy based on conventional elections at the State and territorial levels. The inequalities are not only social but exist also in terms of sharing power, thus undermining the principles of equality and democracy. Economic democracy necessitates a radical change in the way the State, transformed into a Market State in the last decades, works.
The goal of this European seminar is to bring a constructive contribution based on the experiences in enterprises, territories and at the State level to push further the economic democracy. What is the existing basis to develop democracy, to transform power and its content?
The system being in a crisis, what can add the concept of democratic economy in relation with the political powers, the redistribution of wealth, social appropriation and the orientation of the economy? (Introduced by Elisabeth Gauthier).
1. Enterprises and the lack of democracy; employees and policy-making in the enterprise (9.30-11.00)
What are the reactions of the employees confronted to the changes imposed by financial capitalism, and now by the world economic crisis? Is there a basis to promote alternatives and economic democracy? (Employees from AXA, Mireille Gueye, trade union delegate from AXA, Denis Renard, a trade union delegate from Les Hauts de Seine; Claire Villiers, vice-chairman and regional councillor charged on regional democracy; Gaétan Flocco, sociologist and Patrick Jouary mayor of the City of Nanterre).
2. What should public powers do to support economic democracy? (11.30-13.00)
What kind of cooperation should be built by the enterprises, the employees, their representatives and the customers? What institutional changes should be developed to democratize society? How should we organize the territory in connection with the enterprises? Can we create common goals? The relation between sciences, democracy and innovation. (With the participation of Daniel Brunel, vice-chairman of the regional council; Annick Jacq, researcher (OIN), a trade-unionist of UGICTCGT and a member of the territorial association of OIN; Nadine Garcia, employee at AXA and general councillor).
3. Social and solidarity economy: the road to change? (14.00-15.30)
(Sylvie Mayer, European deputy (1979-1994) and regional councillor (1998-2005); Daniel Lescornet, researcher; Gerald Ryser, chairman of the association CGSSCOP, and Gabriel Massou, regional councillor).
4. Confronted to the crisis, what are the choices to build economic democracy in Europe?
(Stephan Bouquin, sociologist and historian ; Georgia Petraki, sociologist and professor at the University of Panteion; Javier Navascues, economist (Spain); Richard Detje, economist (Germany) and Klaus Dräger, Christine Mendelsohn (European left France)).