The EL in the Left Forum 2018 in New York – Towards a new strategy for the Left

The EL in the Left Forum 2018 in New York – Towards a new strategy for the Left

At least thousand of people took part in the Left Forum 2018, which took place from Friday June 1st to Sunday June 3rd, offering one plenary per day covering on Friday the political sphere, on Saturday the academic approach and on Sunday the grassroots activists perspective on this year’s general topic.
The opening plenary on Friday evening brought already a first highlight featuring Jane Sanders, the wife of Bernie, a well known political activist and university professor.
She focused on the necessity of backing up Bernie’s beat for another nomination as a presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, by asking to consider to register with the democrats for the primaries. This was not received well by part of the audience, whistles and boos could be heard. Nonetheless, examples of inclusive politics and progressive advancements were cheered, especially during the speech of the two times major of Richmond, Gayle McLaughlin, who stood against the interests of the Chevron corporation, in order to make the city a vibrant progressive space.
In the interventions on the second plenary, scholars presented their strategic concepts for potential winning strategy to win hegemony in these years. Prominent intervention was the one introducing the feminist tools, namely changing the way of reproduction and reproductive commons, as fundamental for funding new spheres of actions for the left, and instruments to build up new societies in front of the imperialist capital.
Saturday and Sunday were dedicated to literally hundreds of panels. Around 40 at the same time were competing for audience.
During the whole event, open spaces at the John Jay College were filled with around 50 organization from the left, media and bookstores.
The European Left presented 2 panels : “Connecting the European and North American Left: Identifying Spheres of Cooperation” and “ Party of the European Left - a Success Story of Radical Left Alliances? An Analysis from US and European Perspective”.
The EL participants (Paolo Ferrero, Waltraud Fritz Klackl and Piera Muccigrosso), were accompanied by Haris Golemis (Transform Europe), Andreas Günter( future director of the Rosa Luxembourg Stiftung, New York), Leo Panitch (York University, Socialist Register), Ethan Earle (Rosa Luxembourg Stiftung) and Ethan Young (journalist and editor).
Both events were attended quite well and stimulated lively debates. Many Americans, some of European origin, were very interested in the current situation of the different European countries and parties, e.g. the latest events in Italy and Spain, and how the left forces in Europe have been reacting to the Syriza experience in government. Even an individual member of the EL with Turkish roots was present to express his wish to have more information and being more actively involved into the EL politics.
The presence of the EL proved to be useful in more than one way, giving us the chance for information, discussion and debates. More contacts with representatives of the transatlantic left arose and lead us to a better understanding what kind of political and organization challenges a still quite fragmented radical left in the United States is facing in the Trump era.