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Energy Democracy in Europe. A Survey and Outlook

by Conrad Kunze and Sören Becker. Brussels, June 2014.

 

Renewable energy sources are an appropriate means of combatting climate change. Implemented correctly they could even become part of a wider social change.


This study offers a general overview of vanguard energy democracy projects within the EU. It presents nascent energy projects characterised by their combination of an energy transition approach with gains in participation, collective ownership, or for local business or ecology in general.

 

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Alternative Solutions to the Debt Crisis

International conference, 6-8 March 2014, Brussels

 

 

Socializing losses and privatizing gains? Cutting social spending and wages? There is no alternative? We have reasons to doubt it! That is why we asked for alternative solutions to the debt crisis. And we got answers - from academics, politicians, and activists who presented their ideas on solving the debt crisis at this international conference, hosted by the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Brussels Office in cooperation with the European Network on Debt and Development (eurodad).

 

The new conference report (pdf, 3 mb) gives insights to the contributions and presents alternative strategies to exit the debt crisis.

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Free Trade - Project of the Powerful : TTIP Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Autorin: Ulrike Herrmann. Brüssel, April 2014
 

Americans and Europeans are negotiating a free trade agreement called TTIP. But why? Trade is already flourishing. Meanwhile, the real barrier to trade is not being addressed: currency speculation, which leads to extreme currency fluctuations and ad hoc price increases for export goods.

If we are to understand the political obsession with free trade, we must look far back in history, beyond the current negotiations.

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The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). A charter for deregulation, an attack on jobs, an end to democracy

By John Hilary, Director of War on Want. Ed. Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Brussels Office, 2014. Available in several languages.

 

TTIP

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a comprehensive free trade and investment treaty currently being negotiated – in secret – between the European Union and the USA. As officials from both sides acknowledge, the main goal of TTIP is to remove regulatory ‘barriers’ which restrict the potential profits to be made by transnational corporations on both sides of the Atlantic.

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European Action Day for Coca-Cola workers on 5 May 2014

Enough is enough. This was agreed by over 50 representatives of trade unions, workplace unions and staff committees during their meeting on 20-21 March 2014 in Madrid. The aim of the meeting was to exchange experiences on labor and working conditions at Coca-Cola in Europe.

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Neonazi mobilization in the context of the crisis. The rise of the nazi party Golden Dawn in Greece

Brochure by Dimitris Psarras, September 2013 (German language)

 

Neonazistische Mobilmachung

Many trusted the predictions that after their entry in the parliament the Chrysi Avgi officials would put on ties and suits and conform to the system. The contrary happened. Chrysi Avgi’s actions show similarity to the NSDAP tactics during the Weimar Republic.” (Dimitris Psarras)

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Energy democracy? A socio-ecological Transformation in the area of Energy. An international conference in Vienna

More than 60 participants from 18 countries and a wide variety of areas of activity came together for the conference Socioecological Transformation – Focus Energy at the University of Vienna from July 3-5, to explore the possibilities and limits of just such a transformation. The conference was organized by Ulrich Brand of the University’s Institute for Political Science, and by the Brussels Bureau of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.

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True Democracy Now! Alter Summit, Athens, 7-8 June 2013

More than 1000 activists from social movements, trade unions and political parties followed the call to join the Alter Summit on the 7th and 8th of June 2013 in Athens.

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Winners and losers in the German energy transition: myths, lies and arguments

The German energy transition (‘Energiewende’) is under attack. 2012 saw the installation of nearly of 7.6 gigawatts solar power generation capacity – a huge amount, to be sure, which could supply some two million medium-sized households. This should of course be good news, because the fossil fuels that still supply the lion’s share of our electricity are the main culprits behind today’s rapidly changing climate. In addition: they’re likely to run out in the not-so-distant future. At the same time, a large majority of Germans strongly rejects nuclear power – for good reason (remember Fukushima?). It would seem that the Energiewende couldn’t move along fast enough.

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Energy policy and ressources extractivism. RLS seminar and workshop at the World Social Forum in Tunis

Conflicts centred on resources and the effects of production and life models that are increasingly energy and resource intensive were central issues at the World Social Forum from the very start. At the same time, the problems have become more serious over past years: resources are becoming scarcer, human-caused climate change as a consequence of emissions is taking on ever greater political importance, the approaches of a Green Economy make new resource groups important. Only in recent years did the European Union formulate firm political strategies that should, above all, ensure safe (and affordable) access to resources. At the same time, the high world market prices for resources allow progressive governments, particularly in Latin America, to create some room for manoeuvre as regards distribution.

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Crisis in Europe - Danger for Democracy and Solidarity?

Conference in Nuremberg, May 3-5, 2013 - Wir wollen auf der Konferenz mit Referent/innen aus sieben europäischen Ländern die Ursachen der Eurokrise aufdecken und mit diskutieren, wie sie gelöst werden können. Welche alternativen Wege gibt es? Wie werden Lösungsansätze in Südeuropa in die Praxis umgesetzt? Was haben Streiks und Bewegungen erreicht? Welche Rolle spielt Deutschland? Und was ist eigentlich mit den osteuropäischen Mitgliedstaaten? Wie wird mit dem Erstarken der Nazis umgegangen? Welche Bedeutung haben Solidarität und Demokratie in der Eurokrise? Was heißt das für die Linke?

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For a European Spring! Our Democracy against their Austerity!

Für einen Europäischen Frühling! Unsere Demokratie gegen ihr Spardiktat! - Am 14./15. März 2013 findet der alljährliche EU Frühjahrsgipfel in Brüssel statt. Weitere Spardiktate für die Menschen in Europa stehen auf der Agenda. Verschiedene Gruppen und Organisationen bis hin zum Europäischen Gewerkschaftsbund haben unter dem Motto "Für einen Europäischen Frühling! Unsere Demokratie gegen ihr Spardiktat!" zu Kundgebungen und Demonstrationen am 13. und 14. März in Brüssel aufgerufen.

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Sans Papiers from Paris to the World Social Forum in Tunis

An international caravan of the Sans Papiers on their way from Paris to the World Social Forum in Tunis in March 2013 call for support in their struggle for the fundamental rights of the freedom of movement. In Tunis, the caravan will take part in the "Assembly of Migrants and Solidarity Associations". In the assembly, proposals and approaches of a new politics of the rights of migrants are discussed. The assembly also aims at the internationalization of the struggles and the exchange of experiences in local struggles ... and at a more institutionalized form of coordinated international struggle.

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Greece serves as a test arena for the abolishment of the right of asylum

Media activist Andrea Plöger from Timecode e.V. reports in the German Journal "Analyse und Kritik" on the right of asylum in Greece, the situation of migrants and on the attacs by members of the neofascist political party "Golden Dawn". She abords the same topic in a video. Andrea participated in December 2012 in a joint seminar of Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Brussels and the Liaison office in Athens on European and Greek migration policy.

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Water and sanitation are a human right!

(European Citizens’ Initiative). Water is a public good, not a commodity. We invite the European Commission to propose legislation implementing the human right to water and sanitation as recognised by the United Nations, and promoting the provision of water and sanitation as essential public services for all. The EU legislation should require governments to ensure and to provide all citizens with sufficient and clean drinking water and sanitation.

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The European Union at the Crossroads? Europa might become an important topic in the Bundestag elections

"Die Europäische Union am Scheideweg? Europa könnte ein wichtiges Thema bei der Bundestagswahl 2013 werden" - Wer die Entwicklung der Europäischen Union und ihrer Politik als Zeitung lesender und Nachrichten hörender Beobachter aus nah und fern in diesem Jahr interessiert verfolgt hat, der könnte den Eindruck gewinnen, als gäbe es auch am Ende des Jahres 2012 in Brüssel nichts Neues: Die Krise scheint das Denken und Handeln der Europäischen Institutionen und ihrer wichtigsten Repräsentanten von morgens bis abends zu bestimmen. Er denke von Krise zu Krise und das täglich aufs Neue, hat Hermann Van Rompuy, Europäischer Ratspräsident, dieser Tage erklärt. Die Krise scheint zur eigentlichen Existenzberechtigung der EU geworden zu sein.

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Peter Linebaugh: Commons at the Crossroads (Video)

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Left Perspectives on European Energy Policy

Conference "Solidarisch und Solar" in Cologne, organized by Rosa Luxemburg Foundation North Rhine-Westphalia, 7-8 December 2012. With Prof. Dr. Peter Hennicke, Maite Jaureguy-Naudin, Rosa Hemmers, Severin Fischer, Uwe Hiksch, Prof. Dr. Heinz Bontrup, Prof. Dr. Ralf Marquardt, Dr. Ulrich Schachtschneider, Wolfgang Freye, Dr. Lutz Mez, Rüdiger Sagel, Karlheinz Röcher, Martina Haase, Jörg Detjen, Uwe Schöneberg, Anna Leidreiter, Jörg Staude, Tadzio Müller, Dr. Hans Thie, Stefan Taschner and others.

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GUE/NGL MEP calls on Parliament to scrap free trade plans with Colombia and Peru

GUE/NGL MEP Helmut Scholz has taken the European Parliament's International Trade committee to task today after it gave its green light for future EU free-trade agreements with Colombia and Peru, despite serious concerns that these would hinder development and threaten human rights in the region. Speaking in the European Parliament at a press conference following the vote, Scholz, the GUE/NGL's coordinator for international trade matters, commented: "The INTA committee's recommendation that the European Parliament give its consent is a wrong decision that has to be corrected in plenary or by the national parliaments of the EU.

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Firenze 10+10 ends: call for action and road-map

More than 4 thousand participants, 300 networks and organisations from 28 countries from all over Europe and beyond, met at Fortezza da Basso in Florence, to debate and strategize together for another Europe. Over 100 meetings, and many new networks and campaigns launched. A call for common action emerged from the convergences, and a proposed roadmap.

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Invitation to the World Social Forum 2013 in Tunis

The Tunisian and Maghrebian social and citizens movements invite to the World Social Forum in Tunis 26-30 March 2013 to discuss the international situation and how to build an “other world”.

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New Rosa Luxemburg Office in Greece

The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation opened an office in Greece on October 9th, 2012. The work in Greece aims at analysing and making public the dramatic consequences of the crisis measures on the Greek society, and at supporting the struggles of our partners against this policy. In the centre of this work is the exchange of experiences in Greece and Germany. In 2012/13 the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation will focus mainly on the following topics: left alternatives to the crisis, neo-fascism in Greece, the privatization of public goods, local politicians in exchange, and migration.

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Green Socialism

Green capitalism focuses on reparation, reorganization and converson of societal relations of nature. Green socialism is a strategy and orientation and may provoke a self-changing Left. This is the topic of the recently published issue of the Magazine LuXemburg 3/2012.

 

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Catastroika - privatization goes public

The film Catastroika - privatization goes public will be screened on Monday, September 24th 2012 in Brussels and presented by the film director Aris Chatzistefanou.

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Socio-ecological Transformation and Energy Policy

From 11th to 14th of July 2012, 70 scientists, activists and politicians from Latin America and Europe met in Vienna to discuss what emancipatory social-ecological transformation mean concretely, and, in terms of practical policy, particularly in the area of energy resources and their production, distribution and consumption – today and in future.

 

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Land Grabbing by Pension Funds and other Financial Institutions must be Stopped

Driven by high food prices, increasing demand for agrofuels, raw materials and grain fed livestock, and low returns from beleaguered financial markets, the number of corporations, governments, public and private financial institutions engaging in large-scale acquisitions of land in the global South is soaring, threatening the livelihoods and food sovereignty of countless local communities.

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For a Future without Fracking!

Gathered in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday 22nd June 2012 during the Peoples’ Summit, groups of activists have made a declaration against fracking activities worldwide. Fracking, short for "hydraulic fracturing", is an environmentally damaging mining method, a combination of wellbores and pressurized fluids, that is among others applied in France, Poland and Bulgaria.

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Another Road for Europe

In preparation of the forum Florence 10+10 in November 2012, groups have formulated a call that describes ways towards a more democratic Europe in which social rights are secured - vis-à-vis the European financial crisis in which processes of de-democratization and European desintegration take place.

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Beautiful Green World. On the myths of a Green Economy

It will stop climate chnge and the extinction of species and in so doing will create high growth rates and millions of jobs: the green economy. It’s seen as a miraculous weapon. Through it, global capitalism will be stabilised. And then it will be sustainable as well. But what is the green economy? In it, policy parameters are supposed to ensure the flow of capital to make markets and economy «greener» and create «green» jobs. Enterprises are to pay an «appropriate» price for environmental damage. And not least: The state is supposed to orient its public procurements to sustainability criteria and create sustainable infrastructures.

 

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Energy Struggles for Energy Democracy?

The new issue of the Magazine LuXemburg 1/2012 has been published. We document here the article by Tadzio Müller.

 

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The crisis in Europe and the success of right wing populism

In the aftermath of the economic crisis in Europe parties from the extreme right, right-wing populist parties, movements and individuals get more and more support from Europe's citizens.

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Video on Money and Finance as Common Good

The video of the lecture by Pedro Páez in April 2012 is online. He talks about the ongoing dominance of the old financial centres, the energy crisis, and the possibilities of an alternative financial system and a common goods-oriented economy.

 

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Democracy instead of the Fiscal Treaty

We document here the call by the Association for critical societal research against the fiscal treaty as part of a solution to the European financial crisis. At the same time, the members of the Association mobilize with this call for the Bloccupy activities in Frankfurt Main

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Boats4People activities in the Mediterranean

The initative Boats4People will take up their activities in the Mediterranean in July 2012. They will be carried out between Sicily and Tunesia.

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Website for a left Europe from below

A new website for a left Europe from below has been initiated by Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and it is online since early 2012. It claims to be: "A website for a left Europe from below. Critical and creative on European issues; more than 200 projects and networks. The European educational offer by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation." More information on the German website of europa-links.eu.

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World Social Forum in Porto Alegre

The social movements assembly on the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre 2012 have adopted a declaration in which they point to their common struggles: against transnational corporations, for climate justice and food sovereignty, against violence against women, and for peace and against war, colonialism, occupations and militarization of our territories.

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Transform Journal with Focus on Europe

Europe is going through an emotional roller coaster. The top EU politicians all have their hands full in trying to manage and improve their half-hearted bailout attempts for member-states that are beginning to careen out of control. In all of this we can’t fail to see that the states in question are in no way being given a hand – not to mention the layers of the populations hit by the austerity measures. The goal of this unprofessional crisis management was and is first and foremost to protect European banks from meltdowns and to keep the financial markets in a good mood.

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From Common Goods to the Common Good of Humanity

There has to be a change of paradigms, to permit a symbiosis between human beings and nature, access of all to goods and services, and the participation of every individual and every collective group in the social and political organizing processes, each having their own cultural and ethical expression: in other words to realize the Common Good of Humanity. This will be a generally long-term process, dialectic and not linear, and the result of many social struggles. (from the text)

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Is this what democracy looks like?

In the context of a new campaign on trade and investment policy of the EU named "Towards an Alternative Trade Mandate for the EU", two seminars on democracy are planned in 2012. The first seminar will take place the 26th and 27th of June 2012 in Brussels. More informatin on Website of S2B-Network or in the Video.

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Women, Peace and Reconcilation

Women have a specific experience in conflict-prevention, civil resistance and in reconciliation processes. A conference in Brussels in November 2011, organized by Rosa Luxemburg Foundations, aims at the recognitition of these experiences and activities of women as a main tool for the development of general concepts and strategies against violent conflicts. Invited speakers are policy makers, members of NGOs, research centres, and women peace activists from Africa, Middle East and Europe. Conference languages are English, French and German.

 

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About the Israeli Social Justice Protests

Feminist and peace activist Dr. Ruchama Marton, founder and president of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, reports in this interview on the demonstrations in Israel since July 2011, its proliferation, the reaction of the media, the reactions of the government and the convocation to form 1000 round tables. She describes a social movement with new demands and new forms of organization and decision-making.

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A Flotilla to Stop Deaths in the Mediterranean

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled Libya since the crisis began in February 2011. As of June 14, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), one million refugees had left the country ; more than 500,000 heading to Tunisia, more than 300,000 to Egypt and 70,000 to Niger.

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Beyond Growth

In May 2011, more than 2500 activists, politicians and researchers met in the congress "Beyond Growth" to discuss the conditions and possibilities of transformation towards a post-growth society. The conference was organized by Attac Germany, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and other political foundations.

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Video Documentary: Caravan for the Freedom of Movement from Bamako to Dakar in February 2011

In May 2011, the video documentary on the Caravan for the Freedom of Movement from Bamako to Dakar has been finalized. The title of the video documentary is: "... denn wir leben von der gleichen Luft" (because we do breathe the same air) (published by timecode e.V.). The caravan took place in the context of the World Social Forum in Dakar in February 2011. The video documentary will be shown in a series of events in different cities in Europe. We are happy to have the opportunitiy to watch it soon.

 

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Commons-Conference in Rome, April 2011

Shortly after Easter, the staff of Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Brussels took off to Rome - for the Commons-Conference (27/28 April 2011). Invited were experts, scholars, politicians and activists from Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. On the programme had been debates on the cornerstones of commons: the societal relations human beings and nature, relations of production and economy, organisation of collective life and interculturality. Experiences in struggles in the defence of the commons had been exchanged. All conference papers are online (see link below).

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For an audit of Tunisia’s debts to the EU

The Members of different Parliaments of Europe, both at national and European levels, call for an immediate suspension of EU debt repayment by Tunisia (with frozen interests) and an auditing of the debt.

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The Audio Book on Rosa Luxemburg is online

On Rosa Luxemburg's 140th birthday, an audio book was published featuring her biography. Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Brussels and Berlin together with HörbuchFM produced this audio book. The audio book is now online.

 

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World Social Forum 2011: From Dakar to Egypt and Back Again

These days, world history is being written in Cairo and other North-African cities and countries. But the ten-year old World Social Forum, which took place in mid-February in Dakar, Senegal, has proven itself to be an indispensible transnational space of encounters, for the development of strategy, or for launching campaigns.

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The Right to Free Movement for Roma in Europe

In December 2010, international academics, civil society activists and lawyers met in Bucharest to discuss the mobility of Roma in today´s Europe. It was stated that the mass expulsions in France in 2010 have been discriminatory against the Roma and that they have violated the idea of free movement within Europe. On the grounds of EU law and landmark court cases the participants further searched for ideas how to best argue against expulsions and evictions in other European countries. Here a video on the conference.

 

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The Luxemburg-Vandervelde-Debate on the General Strike

Prof. Michael Krätke, Lancaster University, gives a lecture on the concept of the "general strike" of Rosa Luxemburg and Emile Vandervelde in Brussels.

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Rosa Luxemburg Foundation at the World Social Forum 2011 in Dakar

Rosa Luxemburg Foundation will be present at the World Social Forum in Dakar with four seminars - 1) alternative ideas to concepts of growth and development, 2) global migration, 2) people's economy in agriculture, and 4) projects of basic income grant.

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Caravan for the freedom of movement and fair development from Bamako to the World Social Forum in Dakar

The caravan has started in Bamako on the 26th of January 2011 and will arrive at the World Social Forum in Dakar at the 6th of February. The Networt Afrique-Europe-Interact - with activists from Europe and Africa - are organising this caravan. Follow the news on the caravan on the Blog of Rosa Luxemburg Foundation or by watching the videos of Afrique-Europe-Interact.

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The Beginning of the End of the Regime

Photos by Mamdouh Alhabashi

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An Alternative Trade Mandate for the EU

Invitation to a kick-off meeting: Towards an alternative trade mandate for the EU - Building a strong coalition for change in Europe's trade and investment policy. Misereor office, Mozartstr. 9, 52064 Aachen, Germany - Friday, 28 January 2011, 9am - 5pm. More information on the meeting on the website of the Seattle-to-Brussels-Network.

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The alternative Nobel Prize 2010 goes to the Physicians for Human Rights-Israel

Congratulations to Dr. Ruchama Marton. Her organisation, the "Physicians for Human Rights-Israel", is this year's winner of the Alternative Noble Prize (The Right Livelihood Award). Ruchama Marton, the founder of this organisation, is an Israeli psychotherapist, psychiatrist, and feminist. In spring 2010, she cooperated with Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Brussels. We thank her for the good cooperation and wish her all the best.

 

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European Parliament voted for Resolution on Trade Relations EU-Latin America

The European Parliament voted for the resolution on trade relations EU - Latin America on the basis of the draft by Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL) on the 21 October 2010.

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Organisational shortcomings and relative disorientation: The sixth European Social Forum in Istanbul

More than 3000 people took part in the sixth European Social Forum in Istanbul, beginning of July 2010. In the centre of the European Social Forum was the topic of the crisis: the economic and financial crisis, the climate crisis, and water and energy conflicts. Critical report by Ulrich Brand, Vienna University, on the sixth European Social Forum in Istanbul (in German language). 

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New Director at the Centre of for International Dialogue and Cooperation (RLS)

Wilfried Telkämper is the new director of the Centre for International Dialogue and Co-operation (ZID) from the 1st of July, 2010.

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Opening of Andean office of Rosa Luxemburg Foundation

The regional office of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation for the Andean countries of South America is opening officially with an international seminar on the topics democracy, participation and socialism on the 2nd and 3rd of June in Quito.

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Exhibition "Frankfurt-Auschwitz" in Brussels

The exhibition "Frankfurt-Auschwitz" by the artist Bernd Rausch was presented for the first time at the 65th anniversary of the liquidation of the so called "Zigeunerlager" in Auschwitz in August, 1944. It names the culprits, speaks about the fate of Roma and Sinti in Auschwitz and highlights the memories of victims and survivors. 

 

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Through the economic crisis by „business as usual“? The Swedish EU-Presidency in 2009

After the controversial Czech EU-presidency there are high expectations within the left camp regarding the new presidency. Unfortunately the programme proposal doesn't fulfill these expectations. A presidency which shows such low reform efforts even in the end of June 2009, and which pretends that the EU can sail through the current crisis by business as usual, hasn't seen the writing on the wall or doesn't want to see it.

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