The Left in Government: Latin America and Europe Compared

Time: 1.-4. Mai 2009
Venue: International Auditorium, Brussels
Organisation: Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Brussels
Sprachen: English and Spanish, with simultaneous translation
Contact: Marlis Gensler, Email

Since the late 1990s, a whole range of left forces has come into government in Latin America. In Europe, the left has participated in several governments, too. With the global crisis of neoliberalism and the profound crisis of finances and economy, a new situation has arisen. This situation constitutes an incredible challenge for the left to contribute to a sustainable change of direction in politics and the development of society. However, this is only possible if the left is capable of building a wide social, political and cultural coalition for a solidary society.

The conference “The Left in Government – a Strategic Project? Latin America and Europe Compared” will discuss how the exertion of governmental power by left forces and the participation of left forces in governments can be used to strengthen the movement for a profound change. Thus the conference won´t focus on certain policy fields or improvements that have been achieved, but it will discuss the role of government participation as a means of developing transformatory social, political and cultural forces.

The conference will be based on different country analyses that focus on the following questions:

Which specific initial conditions have to be considered when analysing the participation in governments in the different countries and how does the current crisis change these conditions?

Regional actors:
On which social, political and cultural formations can the governmental participation draw and to what extent is it capable of strengthening these formations, their strategic cooperation and their capability to counter-hegemony? How has the cooperation of these forces changed throughout participation in government? Which changes have happened in the transnational cooperation of left actors (e.g. Mercosur, Unasur, Banco del Sur, ALBA e.c.) and which problems have arisen? How do transnational networks like Via Campesina, Jubileu, Alianza Social Continental develop under the current conditions? Which changes have appeared within the right forces?

Key projects:
Which government projects are crucial for the strengthening of the left and building a counter-hegemonic block (constituent process, land reform, democratisation, social reform projects, economic policy approaches, regional integration, global cooperation)? How did these projects come into existence and how is the effect of these projects valued?

Which challenges have arisen throughout the crisis of finances and capitalism and which changes of strategy of the left are necessary within and beyond government to pursue a sustainable transformation?

>> Programme in English (pdf)
>> Programme in Spanish (pdf)
>> Book publication: The Left in Government. Latin America and Europe Compared (Englisch, Spanisch)
>> Press: Die Linke in der Regierung. By Kay Wagner (German)
>> Photos of event

See also:

>> Second conference The Left in Government: Latin America and Europe