Europe: Left meets in Lisbon

April 5, 2000

By Iggy Kim

LISBON, Portugal — On March 22, a number of Europe's radical left parties met here in the shadows of the European Union Summit.

Hosted by Portugal's Left Bloc, the conference aimed to exchange ideas regarding continent-wide cooperation against the "Europe of capital". The participating parties, while coming from various political backgrounds and traditions, were united in their opposition to the neo-liberal offensive of the European Union.

They included France's Revolutionary Communist League (LCR), Turkey's Party of Freedom and Solidarity, the Danish Red-Green Alliance, Spain's Alternative Space, the Scottish Socialist Party, the Norwegian Red Electoral Alliance, Germany's Party of Democratic Socialism, the Catalonian Republican Left, the Galician Nationalist Bloc, and the Portuguese Left Bloc. Many represent a recomposed socialist left drawn together by social democracy's rightward shift.

A key topic of discussion was the drive by governments of all hues to casualise Europe's work force. The Left Bloc reported that 50% of jobs in Portugal are now casual. This is the case, as the LCR reported, with 80% of France's new jobs. Many participants stressed secure jobs and minimum living standards as the focus for any Europe-wide cooperation.

Other discussion ranged from the need to recognise oppressed nations within the EU to the individual campaigns of each party.

This inaugural gathering was an important step towards the renewal of a radical socialist movement in Europe. All participants expressed hope of continuing to build links.

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