at UCL University College London
6 December 2012, 6.00-7.30pm
Cruciform B304 – LT1
London WC1E 6BT
Jean-Luc Mélenchon will present a progressive alternative to the austerity policies which are being implemented across Europe and will address the shortcomings of European integration. One of the most influential leaders of the ‘Other Left’ in Europe, he will discuss the ‘historic failure’ of social democracy; its inability to shape a European Union based on solidarity and social justice. The introduction will be followed by a question and answer session with the public.
Chair: Prof Philippe Marlière (UCL)
Jean-Luc Mélenchon was a cabinet minister in Lionel Jospin’s government (2000-02) as well as a member of the French Senate (1986-2009). He was a long-time executive member of the Socialist Party (1977-2008). He left the PS in 2008 and created the Left Party which is part of a wider electoral coalition, the Left Front. This umbrella organisation is similar to Syriza in Greece or Die Linke in Germany. In May 2012, Jean-Luc Mélenchon ran for the French presidency. In the first round of the election, he secured 11.1% of the share of the votes nationally (over 4 million votes). Since 2009, Mélenchon has been an MEP.
This event will be followed by a reception in the Cruciform Cafe.
This year’s Summer University of the European Left Party and transform!europe will take place in Portaria, near the city of Volos, in the region of Thessaly in Greece, from 17 to 22 July. The first day will be organized by the EL Feminist Network (EL-FEM).
In the epicentre of the crisis, this Summer University will have the crisis as its transversal theme. The effects of the austerity measures all over Europe, the pauperisation of society, but also the big popular resistance and important mobilisations in several countries, outline what is in the page the European people are turning at this new moment in history. The slogan of the summer university will be:
“Peoples of Europe, Unite!”
In cooperation with the Greek EL member parties of Synaspismos and AKOA, the Summer University aims to gather young activists and members of parties and social movements from all over Europe, for debates on current political and social issues.
The 4 thematic axes of this year’s Summer University are:
- Building Solidarity during the Crisis – Towards a New Society
- Against Authoritarian Capitalism – For a Democratic, Social, Ecological and Feminist Europe
- The Future of Europe and the Relation of Europe with the Rest of the World
- The Cooperation among Parties, Trade Unions and Social Movements on a National and European Level
During the workshops and the plenaries, participants will share experiences and discuss policies and initiatives for the construction of an alternative Europe.
For further information and organizational details refer towww.european-left.org.
Author: Costas Douzinas*
Few events in recent European political history have baffled analysts and commentators more than the widespread insurrection or ‘riots’ (according to right-wing commentators) that took place in Greece in December 2008. The catalyst was the unprovoked police killing of the 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos on December 6 in the Exarcheia district downtown Athens next to the Polytechnic and the Law School, two Universities associated with student militancy for some 60 years. Within hours of Grigoris’s killing, massive protests, occupations and demonstrations broke out all over Greece. Daily marches to police stations, Parliament and Ministries were accompanied by sit-ins, street happenings, interruption of theatres, the raising of a banner calling for resistance on Acropolis and the burning of the Christmas tree in Syntagma Square. Some early violence against banks and luxury shops was minimised and no casualties. In an unprecedented move, large numbers of secondary school pupils occupied some 800 schools and took to the streets. Half the population supported the protest. Solidarity protests throughout Europe created fears of the protests spreading.
The insurrection led to a plethora of anxious interpretations. Many, often contradictory, causes were put forward: economic (unemployment and neo-liberal economic measures), political (persistent corruption and failure of education), cultural or ideological. But the most prominent reaction of commentators has been incomprehension mixed with incredulity.
by Richard Wolff.
PUBLISHED ON APRIL 27, 2010
Yet again, business leaders, politicians, academics, and media are blowing smoke around Greece’s efforts to cope with “national debt” problems. Something far more important for the world than this small country’s financial travails is at stake. Indeed, what is at stake affects us all. What is happening in Greece parallels developments everywhere; only details and timing vary.
The struggles in Greece begin with the complex relationship among workers, employers, and the state. Workers and employers are locked into the endless, multi-layered struggles of capitalism (workers vs. employers over wages and working conditions, workers competing for jobs, and capitalists competing against one another for profits). One object of these struggles is the state: varying combinations of workers and employers press the state to (a) serve their interests rather than others’, and (b) shift the cost of doing so onto the others. Read the rest of this entry »
We reject these cuts as simply malicious ideological vandalism, hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. Join us in the fight
It is time to organise a broad movement of active resistance to the Con-Dem government’s budget intentions. They plan the most savage spending cuts since the 1930s, which will wreck the lives of millions by devastating our jobs, pay, pensions, NHS, education, transport, postal and other services.
The government claims the cuts are unavoidable because the welfare state has been too generous. This is nonsense. Ordinary people are being forced to pay for the bankers’ profligacy.
The £11bn welfare cuts, rise in VAT to 20%, and 25% reductions across government departments target the most vulnerable – disabled people, single parents, those on housing benefit, black and other ethnic minority communities, students, migrant workers, LGBT people and pensioners.
Women are expected to bear 75% of the burden. The poorest will be hit six times harder than the richest. Internal Treasury documents estimate 1.3 million job losses in public and private sectors.
We reject this malicious vandalism and resolve to campaign for a radical alternative, with the level of determination shown by trade unionists and social movements in Greece and other European countries. Read the rest of this entry »
by Rick Wolff
Clearly, the global capitalist crisis that started in 2007 will be neither short nor shallow. The government rescue of the US financial industry pumped enough extra money into the economy and sufficiently reduced interest rates to give banks and the stock market the heavily hyped “recovery” that started March 2009 and is now over. What is worse, their recovery never reached much of the rest of the economy. Efforts to broaden the recovery or extend it beyond one limp year have failed. That failure cost Washington trillions in borrowed funds from lenders who now demand guarantees that those loans will be repaid to them with interest. Similar demands now confront many other governments who likewise borrowed heavily to cope with the crisis in their countries. Read the rest of this entry »
The political ‘explosion’ that took place in Greece was a symptom of a systemic and deep-rooted legitimation crisis of the Greek state. This essay examines some of the causes of this crisis, how the political space in which this explosion occurred was produced, and possibilities for continued political antagonisms and struggles. Events belie forecasts; to the extent that events are historic, they upset calculations. They may even overturn strategies that provided for their possible occurrence. Because of their conjunctural nature, events upset the structures which made them possible (Lefebvre, 1969: 7).
The dramatic upheavals in Greece, sparked by the December 2008 murder of a ﬁfteen-year-old student by the police, have been the focus of much interest and speculation. This ‘explosion’ has been one of the most acute challenges to the Greek political
establishment since the end of the Greek Civil War. Read the rest of this entry »