North Atlantic Left Dialogue Berlin November 2008 & New York December 2009

The first of two meetings of the North Atlantic Left Dialogue was held in Berlin, November 2008 and the second is scheduled for New York in December 2009. They concern the global crisis and strategies for transatlantic co-operation between the lefts in Western Europe and North America. The organizers — Eric Canepa and Rainer Rilling — wrote the following in their invitation to the dialogue:

This seminar is an attempt to develop a continuous working relationship between left and socialist intellectuals and academics in Europe … and North America … for the purpose of discussing the distinctive challenges to the political, social and cultural left working and struggling in the highly developed northern capitalist countries. One of the results we hope to achieve is to establish reform demands which are feasible and appropriate for countries at a comparable stage of development… expanding this cooperation as part of the renewal of the global left in the 21st century.

I made two sets of brief written contributions which should be read in conjunction with each other. The context is explained below.


In the first North Atlantic Left Dialogue – November 9, 2008 – Berlin, the participants were initially asked to address the following questions:

  1. What are the chief strengths and weaknesses of the European and north-American lefts now (please be sure to locate their strengths!)? What are the major opportunities for strengthening the lefts in both regions now?
  2. How do we deal with the contradictions between the socialist left, centrist social democracy and the civil-society movements?
  3. What are the key new programmatic components of a left strategy that might enable a revived left to avoid the previous decline of the traditional left?
  4. How exactly can and should the left in each region help the left in the other regions? And, regarding the specific project at hand – the present seminar – where does it go from here? What is its potential?

Here is my written contribution to Berlin, which, like those of others, was circulated in advance: 136KB PDF file

Other participants in Berlin included:

Stanley Aronowitz, Marco Berlinguer, Robert Brenner, Michael Brie, Alex Demirovic, Frank Deppe, Barbara Epstein, Rainer Fischbach, Georg Fülberth, Jörg Huffschmid, Hans Jürgen Krysmanski, Peter Marcuse, Harold Meyerson, Andrea Montagni, Gian Paolo Patta, Rainer Schultz, Thomas Seibert, Neil Smith, Ingar Solty, Christoph Spehr, Bill Tabb, Rick Wolff.

New York, December 2009

The 10-11 December 2009 seminar on left strategy for the capitalist core countries of Europe, the US and Canada will focus on where the current crisis is heading, what kind of state projects will and/or should be developed in response, the question of “green” capitalism and what this all means for the transformational left in terms of strategy.

Participants were asked to address in written form, circulated to the other participants before the seminar, three questions:

  1. Where is the crisis heading?
  2. Is “green capitalism” a solution or part of the problem?
  3. What is the most important concrete problem to which left strategy should develop a response in 2010?

My contribution to New York is here: 99KB PDF file

Other participants will include: Frieder Otto Wolf, David Harvey, Harold Meyerson, Bill Tabb, Rick Wolff, Mimmo Porcaro, Stanley Aronowitz, Bill Fletcher Jr., Leo Panitch, Barbara Epstein, Peter Marcuse, Alex Demirovic, Frank Deppe, Thomas Seibert, Christoph Spehr, Rainer Fischbach, Robert Brenner, Mario Candeias, Rainer Rilling, Michael Brie, Christina Kaindl, Margit Mayer, Michael Krätke, Catharina Schmalstieg, Ingar Solty, Jan Rehmann.