We live in a conjuncture marked by multiple crises of an economic, social, ecological and political nature. The European economic and political system is facing a turbulent future, not simply due to Brexit but also as a consequence of its internal contradictions and weaknesses. Disaster nationalism, a convergence of the authoritarian, free-market and extreme right, has emerged victorious in places like the US, Britain, Hungary, Turkey, India and Brazil.
The political left is struggling to break through in pockets of Europe, while the trade union movement is contending with far-reaching shifts in the structure and organisation of the economy. Overlaying these challenges is the climate crisis, which has moved from a future threat to an urgent and present danger that demands immediate and far-reaching action.
In these radically uncertain times, we recall Rosa Luxemburg’s cautionary words: “Marxism must abhor nothing so much as the possibility that it becomes congealed in its current form. It is at its best when butting heads in self-criticism, and in historical thunder and lightning, it retains its strength.”
This blog was originally conceived as a source for commentary on Brexit and a forum for intellectual self-criticism and debate on the various challenges facing the European left. While the blog has retained much of this original emphasis, particularly as the Brexit process is set to drag on, we have also broadened its focus to pay greater attention to:
- Experiences of the left in building alliances and political power, particularly at a national level but also at a sub-national or transnational level;
- The role and response of the political left and organised labour in the context of economic, political and constitutional change in Britain and Ireland;
- The left’s approach to the EU and the future direction of the European economic and political system.
We welcome contributions which address these thematic areas from a left perspective, including those involving an exploration of cross-cutting themes such as trade unionism and workplace struggles; social movements and anti-capitalism from below; trade, security and migration; feminist perspectives; and the urgent threat of climate breakdown, for example.
Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Brussels Office
The Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung is an internationally operating, left-wing non-profit organisation providing civic education. It is affiliated with Germany’s ‘Die Linke’ (Left Party). Active since 1990, the foundation has been committed to the analysis of social and political processes and developments worldwide. The Stiftung works in the context of the growing multiple crises facing our current political and economic system.
There are myriad Brexit blogs, yet few from a decidedly left position. In order for policy-makers, political observers and activists to be able to react promptly to the dynamics of Brexit and to offer ways forward based on well-informed, coherent positions, it is crucial to monitor events as they unfold as well as investigate complex questions of theory and strategy.
Our intention is not to add just one more opinion, but to create debate and engender political education and exchange on selected issues. It is time to link new and existing struggles and harness them towards a more effective left strategy for building a people’s Europe. With this blog, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Brussels aims to support this process.
Coordinator and main contributor:
For almost three decades Trademark Belfast has been at the forefront of providing a trade-union based analysis of and response to the constitutional, political, identity and conflict-related challenges facing Northern Ireland. From its base in West Belfast, Trademark operates on an all-island basis and has been proactive in encouraging various constituencies to engage in dialogue around the constitutional question and that of the border in Ireland.
Since its inception, Trademark has functioned as a roving community and workers’ college, delivering core trade union education courses in addition to bespoke political economy programmes that were developed in the aftermath of the 2007/08 financial crisis. Over the past decade, we have been working to embed radical political education in the British and Irish trade union movements, with the aim of ‘growing’ a cohort of trade union activists that are equipped with the tools to understand, analyse and critique the system as well as advance progressive alternatives.
Ada-Charlotte Regelmann works as a project manager with Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Brussels Office. She coordinates the office’s activities in the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia, with a particular interest in questions of democracy and participation, centrifugalism in Europe, and social reproduction. She previously held positions as a lecturer in European Politics at universities in the UK and in Ireland.
Stiofán Ó Nualláin has been a Co-Director of Trademark Belfast for the last seventeen years providing a trade-union based analysis of and response to the political, identity and conflict-related challenges facing Northern Ireland and working to embed radical political education in the Irish and British trade union movements.
Seán Byers works as a researcher with Trademark. Author of Seán Murray: Marxist-Leninist and Irish Socialist Republican (2015), he has published widely on the themes of socialist history and politics, post-conflict Northern Ireland and left political economy. He is an active member of Unite trade union and Belfast Trades Council.