This year's edition of 'Left Thinking' —a series designed to stimulate and focus progressive discussion on current social affairs— kicks off on Thursday, September 25. Presented by the Rotterdam branch of the Socialist Party, 'Denken over Links' offers a podium for inspiring and thought-provoking speakers on such diverse issues as living together in the city, racism and discrimination, and the future of the welfare state, amongst many others. The 2014/15 season opens with an evening of lectures and discussion concerning the perspectives for the Left in Europe.
The European elections in May didn't produce a genuine, Europe-wide breakthrough for the authentic Left. Despite the economic crisis, and disastrous austerity measures, the Left, broadly speaking, appears as yet unable to present a credible social alternative. But it's not all bad news: Greece's Syriza, the figurehead for Europe's radical left, became the leading electoral force in that country; and Podemos, the voice of Spain's indignados, immediately won 8% of the vote, despite having been formed only four months beforehand.
These parties —active in countries hit hard by the crisis, with soaring unemployment, deep poverty and far-reaching austerity— have managed to attract wide support with their radical programmes. And there are some intriguing stories behind these results‥
What are the perspectives for these relatively new political movements? How can we explain their success? How do they see the relationship between on-the-streets activism and parliamentary politics? These and other questions form the basis for lectures from Spanish and Greek speakers, to be followed by an open discussion.
Alex Merlo is Parliamentary Assistant for Podemos in the European Parlement. He studied Philosophy in the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and in the Université Paris I - Sorbonne, and has been a student activist and member of Izquierda Anticapitalista and the NPA.
Due to the nature of the evening, the lectures and discussion will be in English.
Location: Gaffelstraat 61b, 20:00 – 22:00 (doors open 19:30).
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