Slovenia: Founding congress of the Initiative for Democratic Socialism; United Left formed

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By Anej Korsika

March 19, 2014 -- Links Internaional Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On March 8, the Initiative for Democratic Socialism (IDS) had its founding congress and officially transformed itself into a political party. In the invitation to the congress we have written that in the last 20 years all political parties in Slovenia have been representatives of one and the same fraction, the fraction of capital. We have emphasised that it is high time Slovenia gets a proper socialist party that openly and consciously represents a socialist alternative to both the crisis in Slovenia as well as the crisis in European Union.

The date as well as the place of the congress were not chosen by coincidence. International Women’s Day that socialists have been celebrating for more than 100 years is a type of tradition that IDS wants to honour and develop further. This is especially important nowadays when we are experiencing an erosion of all kinds of rights that were once perceived as self-evident. Capitalism always was and always will be chauvinistic, therefore socialism must be feminist. Our decision to hold the founding congress in the centre devoted to the memory of fighters in the Spanish Civil War, was no coincidence either. We believe that internationalism expressed at that time, when more than 30,000 volunteers from more than 50 countries (among them 1600 Yugoslavs) defended the Spanish republic, is a tradition we must be proud of and further develop.

The congress was very well attended and at the moment our party already has more than 300 members. On the congress we have confirmed our party program, which focuses on both the situation in Slovenia as well as situation in Europe, and offers concrete conclusions that would be possible here and now and would get us a few steps closer to socialism. The party statutes were also confirmed and here again we have expressed our commitment to the principles of direct democracy.

The party does not have a president, instead it has a coordinator that is a legal representative as well as in charge of other coordinators (for international relations, for program, regional expansion etc.). However the real political power is in the council, which is directly elected at the congress and has the greatest power and authority in the times between the congresses. Council consists of 31 members who are elected directly by the congress and of 26 members who are delegates of local branches of the party. The idea behind such structure is that power is as dispersed as possible and that every member of the party has a real opportunity to participate in the process of party development.

It is worth noting that we also received a lot of international support, which was expressed by messages from the Austrian Communist Party, the Italian Communist Party, Communist Refoundation Party (Italy), the Spanish United Left, the German Die Linke, the Greek SYRIZA, the French Front de Gauche and the Finnish Left Alliance.

We concluded our congress with collective singing of the "Internationale". Our immediate tasks are now regional expansion, consolidation of party infrastructure, candidacy for the European elections and continuation of our international work.

The candidacy for European elections will be done together with two other parties, the Democratic Workers Party and the Party of Sustainable Development, which form the coalition “United Left”. A couple of weeks ago this coalition had its own founding congress, which was attended and supported by Alexis Tsipras and got a substantial media coverage.

Of interest is an interview about our Initiative I gave a while ago and is now available in English: “The formation of European movement is key”.

Slovenia: United Left formed for European election

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May 9, 2014 -- Transform! network -- After some months of intensive discussion on a common program, three parties of the Slovene alternative left, the Party for Sustainable Development (TRS), the Democratic Labor Party (DSD) and the Initiative for Democratic Socialism (IDS), agreed to join forces and compete together as a coalition in the crucial May 25 European elections.

The public founding meeting of the United Left (Združena Levica) was held on March 1, 2014, at the impressive concert hall of the Grand Hotel Union in Ljublana, which opened its doors in 1905.

The European Left Party was represented in the event by its vice-president and candidate for the EU Commission presidency, Alexis Tsipras, and the members of the EL executive board, Yiannis Bournous (SYRIZA) and Dominic Heilig (Die Linke).

Apart from their keynote speeches, Alexis Tsipras and Dominic Heilig were also invited by the leaders of the three Slovene co-founder parties to co-sign, on behalf of SYRIZA and Die Linke, the Founding Act of the United Left, a gesture which was enthusiastically applauded by the 500 participants.

The creation of the United Left did not come out of the blue. In contrast, the first meetings and discussions were held last year, during the unprecedented popular uprising against corruption and austerity, which took place in Slovenia for several months. After consecutive bilateral and multi-lateral meetings among the three constituent parties and activist groups, the creation of the United Left was announced in the beginning of February.

The new coalition will take part in the European elections under the banner of the European Left, while its components unanimously decided to support the candidacy of alexis Tsipras for the EU Commission presidency.

Twenty-three years after the independence of Slovenia, the newly born Slovene left “dares” to advocate, in its common program, in favour of social transformation and democratic socialism, without being nostalgic of the “ghosts of the past”. This new experiment of unity and hope wishes to become a field of political convergence against the austerity plans and the extensive privatisation programs that the neoliberal Slovene government is applying in full accordance with the International Monetary Fund.