Discussion on the crisis of neoliberalism and the state of the Left in the EU, held April 7, 2017 as part of the 9th annual Platypus international conference.
A united and peaceful Europe seemed to be a distant dream for a generation which went through the experience of war and destruction. Today, this hope gained shape in the new realities of the European Union. Despite its official proclamation of peace, social well-being and an “alternative to capitalism and communism” the project finds itself in a prolonged crisis with uncertain expectations. The Euro-crisis, massive austerity and the increasing interference into democratic principles, a growing division between powerful and weak economies, Germany's new hegemony and the growing influence of financial capital appear in stark contrast to the official slogans of “European values and solidarity”.
The desperate struggle of SYRIZA demonstrated the necessity and seeming impossibility of the Left across Europe to answer with a politics that would be truly international and go beyond “resisting austerity.” Despite growing social unrest, the deep ambivalence towards the EU expresses itself in the inability of the Left to formulate a coherent vision of a political alternative. At the same time, the rejection of the EU is ceded to a growing Right. What is the EU for the Left today? Does the Left believe the EU should be overcome on the basis of the EU itself, or against the EU? The clarification of its nature and appropriate responses seem to be one of the most pressing issues for the Left on the continent and beyond.
A panel discussion held at Loyola University on April 3rd, 2014.
Tarek Shalaby (Revolutionary Socialists)
Quentin Cyr (Quebec Student Strike)
Glauk Tahiri (VETEVENDOSJE! movement)
Respondent: Samir Gandesha
Moderator: Nathan Smith
From massive demonstrations by students in the UK and Canada, to square occupations and general strikes in Greece, to the reemergence of Left political currents in Kosovo in response to waves of privatization and austerity, responses to the economic downturn were international in character. While the crisis has stabilized, conditions for many remain desperate. The fate of these new political movements in light of changed conditions is uncertain.
These new developments require coordination across global networks and it is why Platypus at Loyola is organizing a series of international panels that we hope can take place in Universities across the world where Platypus student members have been able to forge connections.
We hope that this panel will be an opportunity to report on activity and form new connections across international efforts. Panelists will report on the state of the Left in their respected regions and reflect on their experience as organizers while helping formulate what the next steps in organizing and planning could look like in the months and years ahead.