EL Summer University analyses the effects of globalization and alternatives of left
The Summer University of the Party of the European Left (EL), that this year celebrates its XIII edition in Budapest (Hungary), has begun this Thursday morning tackling the situation in which Europe is in this new age of the globalization. They did it analysing the political and social reality in the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean: from Latin America, which is in the eye of the hurricane of the liberal counter-offensive, and from an antisocial Europe dominated by the markets, with a population hurt by the politics of austerity, cuts, increase of the inequality, poverty and precariousness. A field in which the far right advances, collecting the disenchantment of the people and does it not only in Europe but also in other countries such as the United States.
Pavel Muñoz, president of the Economic Commission of the National Assembly of Ecuador and former Minister of Planning and Development, spoke of the progress and setbacks in Latin America in recent decades. He exposed how, between the 2000 and 2016, the progressive movements strengthened in the region, giving response to the implementation of neoliberalism and its translation into the FTAA, and how the left went to government in many countries.
However, 2016 marked the point of inflection and "today we are in a conservative restoration in which powerful economic groups and right-wing parties have come together to carry out the counter-offensive with a common agenda in all countries". A counteroffensive focused primarily on Venezuela and the Bolivarian process.
The former Ecuadorian Minister developed three key points of the agenda of the conservative restoration. The first has been to manage the division of sectors of the left that criticizes the governments for not having done enough. The second, to label of corruptive all the governments of the left to face them to the society. And the third is the use of the media, "acting as true opposition parties".
The conclusion, he explained, is a regression of the progressive forces: “we have lost a historical opportunity to strengthen the regional integration of the left. Now we need to strengthen the resistance fronts in order that the society becomes stronger than the states”.
Ecuador is one of the countries that resists and where the right failed to win the elections last April. One of the fronts of the Government is the fight against tax havens and against free trade agreements. But more important is the concept of "the good life" that Ecuador has developed and which has been included in the Constitution, just as Bolivia has done. In Ecuador, for example, development is not yet equated to economic growth, but to the possibility of living well, nature has rights, attempts to overcome extractivism economy to advance in the society of knowledge, etc. A proposal, as a whole, that the left might study, proposed Muñoz.
Francis Wurtz, of PCF, one of the founders of EL and honorary member of the European Parliament, spoke on the dehumanization of globalization. He explained what it was, but also said that this dehumanisation can be changed for other relations of cooperation and solidarity. He remembered the WTO Counter Summit in Seattle, in November 1999, to fight against the neoliberal agenda, talked about the anti-globalisation movement, the important development it had at the Forum in Porto Alegre and in the protests against the Iraq war. The idea that "another world is possible" has lost the dynamic effect. And, as they do not want to take the risk again, Wurts said, they prevented the democratic revolution of Greece.
From the criticism of what the EU represents today, he does not believe in its disintegration, because all the risks it involves, such as nationalism and a fierce competition among countries. He said that there are initiatives for the transformation and that the task of the left is to support and demonstrate these alternatives. In this propositive part he spoke about the need to prove that there is sufficient financing in Europe and called for the creation of European funds for the social and economic development and the ecological transition, to give an example.
The president of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Dagmar Enkelmann, spoke about the potential the left has and the need to find the best way of using it. “There are alternatives, it is necessary to look at them and to work on them”. She reminded the recent mobilizations of the G-20 in Hamburg to underline that in the whole Europe there are many movements of resistance and mobilisation. People are asking for and needs to join to fight together for the social rights and social justice, she added. And she mentioned the positive and strong backing that Jeremy Corbyn is getting in the United Kingdom, topic developed in another seminar by Felicity Dowling, of UK Left Unity.