On10/11 November 2011, the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations and the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Vietnam exchanged ideas on the global crisis and strategies of the left.
The event aimed at a broader view of the current economic crisis, as the speakers emphasised that it is not only caused by failures of the financial system, but also an ecological and social crisis, closely interlinked with the increasing exploitation of the global South and of natural resources. Therefore it is a crisis of civilisation, and of capitalism itself. Accordingly, the presentations covered many regions and aspects of the topic. For the global level, Prof. Pedro Paez (former financial minister of Ecuador) explained that the capitalist economy in its neoliberal phase has channelled economic activities towards non-productive speculation. Therefore, a new financial architecture that focuses investments on real production is needed. Dr. John Smith (Kingston University, GB) analysed how the outsourcing of production to the global South could restructure the relations between labour and capital. Francisco Saucedo (former MP, Mexico) emphasised these points. He described not only the economic, but also the political impacts of the crisis in Mexico, with special regard to the Party of the Democratic Revolution. Dr. Birgit Daiber (Head of the Brussels office of the RLS) reviewed the European level, analysing how the banking crisis turned into a debt crisis, what instruments the EU used to face it, why the re-regulation of the financial markets has failed, and what the impacts of the current policies for the EU, the global South and the world’s environment are. Sabine Leidig (German MP, The Left Party) pointed out alternatives that are being proposed by the altermondialist movements, such as moving away from the growth-paradigm and nationalising or even more “democratising” industries of central social and ecological interest such as energy and transport. Of course, the Vietnamese perspective was not missing from the agenda, as Nguyen Van Tanh (Vice president of VPDF) illustrated that the Vietnamese situation is more and more interlinked with the global crisis: Vietnam has so far not been that heavily affected by the uncontrolled markets, as its economy is not as liberalised as in other countries. On the other hand, the country faces the historical task of developing in dependence of the global neoliberal institutions such as the WTO, while having to balance the forces of the market, im- and export, private and state enterprises, growth, ecology and social justice.
In the discussions, all speakers agreed that the global economic crisis could also point out chances to break the hegemony of the neoliberal ideology globally. It could help left movements to promote alternative left economic, ecologic, and social concepts in their domestic societies. However, it is clear that the left movements were not yet able to use this momentum to their advantage. Nevertheless, the importance of the alternative ideas of the left movements should not be underestimated. As Sabine Leidig pointed out: Many ideas of the left such as financial transaction taxes have now been recognised by the political mainstream, so the influence of the left should not only be measured in terms of political power, but be understood of as a mosaic, that contains many critical ideas that aim at building a sustainable, peaceful and just global future.
The presentations were as follows:
|Welcome Remarks||Mr. Tran Dac Loi (Executive Vice-President of VUFO) Ms. Nadja Charaby (RLF Country Representative)|
|Session 1: The Financial Crisis and Alternative Solutions / Strategies of the Left Worldwide||Prof. Pedro Paez (former Financial Minister of Ecuador)|
|Session 2: The Global Crisis and Labor Relations / Labor Worlds||Dr. John Smith (Kingston University, Great Britain)|
|Session 3: The Global Crisis and the Role of the Left in Europe and Public-Owned Enterprises||Dr. Birgit Daiber (Head of Brussels Office of the RLS)|
|Closing of the 1st day||Mr. Tran Dac Loi and Ms. Nadja Charaby|
|Session 4: The Global Crisis and Sustainable & Ecological Development vs. Economic Growth Paradigm||Ms. Sabine Leidig (German MP, The Left Party)|
|Session 5: The Global Crisis and Questions of Social Policy / Social Justice||Mr. Francisco Saucedo (former Mexican MP, Party of the Democratic Revolution)|
|Session 6: The Global Crisis and Challenges for Vietnam||Mr. Nguyen Van Thanh, Vice President of Vietnam Peace and Development Foundation|
|Closing of the Dialogue||Mr. Tran Dac Loi and Ms. Nadja Charaby|