Reconfiguring the European Left: Where do Britain and Ireland come into the picture?
Speakers: Kate Hudson and Andrew Burgin of Left Unity
Chair: Helena Sheehan of Left Forum
Date: Saturday, March 22, 2014, 2:30pm
Location: Mandate Trade Union, 9 Cavendish Row, Dublin 1, Ireland
Reading Kate Hudson’s book “The New European Left: A Socialism for the Twenty-First Century?”, outlining the new political forces occupying the space to the left of social democracy, provokes the question of where are Britain and Ireland in this scenario.
Since it was published in 2012, this current has begun to stir on these islands too. Are these winds strong enough to impact on the politics of our time? This is what we want to explore in this national meeting of Left Forum.
Kate Hudson, who is now national secretary of Left Unity in Britain, will analyse the new and dynamic scenario on the European left. Andrew Burgin, also a founder and leader of Left Unity, will discuss the process, problems and possibilities of Left Unity as a new left party.
As to where Ireland fits into this picture, that is for all of us who attend to explore. A prominent part of the agenda of Left Forum is to explore the possibility of forming such a broad left party here. Why is there no formation in Ireland affiliated to the Party of the European Left? Might there be?
Unfortunately I probably won’t be present at this discussion as Cork Women’s Right to Choose are planning an activist workshop for that same day which is more of a priority for me.
I would however have liked to be at this meeting if only to point out that the suggestion that “A prominent part of the agenda of Left Forum is to explore the possibility of forming such a broad left party here” was not part of the original remit – though it probably was the personal perspective of a number of the key individuals involved in initiating the project. I do of course recognise that this idea probably is the view of a majority of the current participants in the Left Forum and it certainly is the view of a majority of the current organising committee.
It is unfortunate that the Left Forum appears to have consolidated so quickly around this kind of reformist fantasy. It seems the original conception of the Left Forum as being a space for discussion and debate about different political ideas has been subsumed by this more “practical” and “realistic” approach.
As it seems fairly clear what political direction the Left Forum is now taking I will be examining the politics of the “Party of the European Left” in more detail in an upcoming blog post.