Party Conference 2022
For an eco-socialist strategy: get out of the capitalist logic!
The 19th Congress of déi Lénk on April 24, 2022 in Colmar-Berg, held under the motto “Zesumme geint d’Ausbeutung vu Mënsch an Natur”, drew first conclusions from the internal debate on the necessities of an ecosocialist strategy.
This debate was started on 25.9.2019 with the presentation to the national coordination of the paper “déi Lénk, ecosocialist movement? Contribution to the strategic reflections for the political work and for the internal organization of dei Lenk”. It was carried out within the organs of dei Lenk as a common and cooperative process. Slowed down by the crisis of Covid-19, which made direct personal exchanges difficult, and re-launched by the 18th Congress of dei Lenk in Remich on 26.9.2021, this process finally led to the adoption of provisional theses by the national coordination after a consultation of the members and the sections. The results of this process are intended to continue to be submitted to the internal deliberation of all members of dei Lenk.
On the basis of all these elements, the congress accepts the following resolution, which will serve as a basis for the continuation of the work and for the elaboration of the electoral programs for the communal and national elections in 2023
The logic of capitalist accumulation continues to dominate our societies. Private capital tends to grow without limits by monopolizing the products of human labor. With the breakthrough of neoliberalism, the logic of financial accumulation has been further accentuated, encouraged by the liberal economic policies of governments.
The result: an increased concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the possessing minority, dispossession, uncertainty and even poverty for those who do not have capital. Intolerable inequalities – social, cultural, and power – within our societies and between rich and poor countries. And which, without a change of direction, will weigh equally, if not more, on the following generations.
The same harmful logic of the priority of private profit is at the origin of ecological disruptions: climate crisis, regression of biodiversity, pollution, accumulation of waste, commodification of life, in short, the increasingly galloping destruction of the essential bases of life.
The concentration of economic power also leads to an erosion of democracy. Without a fundamental change of direction, we will enter a vicious circle: less real and effective democracy, therefore less chance of reversing the power relations, therefore less democracy, etc.
If we have to get out of the capitalist logic, this does not mean that we have to wait for the great and definitive rupture to change things. Within capitalist societies, it is possible to counter this logic at least partially. The examples of labor law and social security, the development of public services, the emergence of new forms of economy not centered on profit are proof of this.
But the insatiable thirst of capital wants to invade the spheres that have escaped it. It is clear that it has already largely succeeded. Uberization, privatization of public services, of the sector
transport, communications, health and care. It is urgent to change direction!
We must break the taboo of questioning private ownership of capital and promote other forms of ownership and management: public, social, collective, cooperative…
If we must guarantee access for all human beings to essential goods and services, we must also stop the permanent incitement to harmful overconsumption.
Against the concentration of wealth and power at the top of society, a reverse redistribution is necessary, through new economic, fiscal and cultural policies and a democratic renewal that deserves its name.
To get out of the capitalist logic respectively to impose limits to it, we cannot rely on the reason or the good will of the governments. Only a strong popular resistance, with the credible perspective of alternatives, can impose real changes.
Struggles on concrete demands can promote this awareness and make people see the necessity of a convergence of these struggles to reverse the balance of power.
This presupposes a new awareness of the common interests of those who live from their work and not from the yield of their capital. An essential task of the Left will be to propagate this common consciousness.
It will be necessary to thwart the attempt to oppose social and ecological concerns. Ecological disturbances and their consequences will hit especially those who are already socially dispossessed. It is therefore necessary to converge ecological, social and democratic commitments.
Ecosocialism means giving back to humans the power over their living conditions, giving back to those who work the control over their work, their tools and their product, and at the same time preserving the essential natural bases of our common life for ourselves and the following generations.
(Resolution adopted by the convention on April 24, 2022)
Party Conference 2021
Mobilising for an eco-socialist alternative!
Thirty years after the proclamation of the “end of history”, humanity is entering a period of
crises that are taking on the dimensions of existential catastrophes. More than a quarter of a century after the Rio Summit in 1992 and the UN Convention on Climate Change, annual CO2 emissions have increased by 60%. Since the financial crisis of 2008, and even more so during the Covid-19 pandemic, the global financial system has been fuelled by extraordinary monetary policies and public subsidies have become the means of survival of the neoliberal economy. At the same time, mass unemployment and social inequality have increased everywhere, even in the economically rich countries. Industrial relocations and privatisations continue, with the corollary that the status of employees is becoming more precarious. The effects of a global and multiple ecological crisis are manifesting themselves everywhere and on different levels, with the climate crisis as a major threat to the future of humanity. The Covid-19 pandemic underlined the vulnerability of the current system based on a frantic race for profit at any price-which was totally unprepared and failed to contain the epidemic and to implement protective non-pharmaceutical products, drugs and medical techniques preventing severe forms and, now, immunising vaccines for everyone at an early stage. It has all been about markets, patents, kickbacks, privatisation and profits. Unsurprisingly, the logic of trade and profitability has overtaken humanitarian health criteria. In poor, dominated and underdeveloped countries, the crises take on even more serious and catastrophic dimensions. As neo-liberalism reaches a dead end, we are entering a new era of global instability.
In the face of economic and financial instability, fiscal orthodoxy has been thrown out the window and replaced by public spending activism. By December 2020, fiscal stimulus measures amounting to $13.5 trillion, or 15% of global GDP, had been agreed, i.e. 4 to 5 times more than during the 2008/09 recession. Today, saved by the strong arms of the state, no capitalist dares to demand that the invisible hand of the market be allowed to act freely. At the same time, in the face of new forms of capitalism supported without limits by state coffers, it has become clear that a highly interventionist state is not enough to achieve a fair and caring society.
The situation in Luxembourg
In Luxembourg, the economic and ideological crisis created by the Covid-19 pandemic has shaken the ruling class. In a few weeks, the country found itself in an unprecedented emergency scenario: in order to be able to ensure measures such as the payment of partial unemployment or state aid for the self-employed and SMEs, the government took out loans totalling 2.5 billion on the financial markets, while benefiting from negative interest rates thanks to the ‘AAA’ rating. At the same time, the neo-liberal transformation strategy in Luxembourg, in the banks and their services, in transport, the post office and other public services via digitalisation, is continuing. Despite the billions of euros mobilised, where public services should have been strengthened, they are being cut back again and again. Since a large part of the electorate is paid by the state or municipal civil service and the like, they have not felt a deterioration in their purchasing power as a result of this policy. However, the situation is not the same for private employees, who – in the context of short-time working – have only received 80% of their salary and whose protection against dismissal has not been guaranteed.
The management of the pandemic is a reflection of the policy that has been pursued for decades: it is techno-liberal and ignores the needs of the most precarious parts of the population. As in other Western countries where we share more or less the same political and socio-economic model, the repercussions of the pandemic have revealed even more intensely the deep dysfunctions of the capitalist model: health systems that are not (or poorly) prepared for crises, unused budgetary and fiscal reserves, exclusive recourse to debt on the financial markets to support employees and the self-employed, tenant protections that only partially limit the damage, or the inability to properly deal with the emotional crises and mental disorders linked to the pandemic.
Of course, those who were already invisible in normal times are no longer heard at all. Thus, the homeless, refugees, and people in irregular situations are increasingly dependent on the involvement of self-help and charitable organisations.
This policy, which is conducted from the perspective of the most privileged, is also felt at the level of education: with distance learning courses, the
This policy, which is conducted from the perspective of the most privileged, is also felt at school level: with distance learning, social disparities have increased even more in Luxembourg schools, whose functioning and teaching are structurally adapted to the upper and middle classes.
Luxembourg is one of the richest and most polluting countries in the world on a per capita basis, but it is also a deeply unequal society. For decades, the country lived off the profits of the steel industry before becoming dependent on the financial ‘industry’. While the ruling caste
While the ruling caste has internalised the principle of wage moderation, it has not developed public services in such a way as to satisfy the basic needs of all, limiting itself to a policy of social transfers.
It has limited itself to a policy of social transfers, increasingly supported by taxes rather than by employers’ contributions. It has subcontracted some of these services to the private sector and has engaged in a laissez-faire policy in the field of labour, education and
education and housing. The negative results of this systematic neglect are no longer only felt by the poorest, but progressively also by the social categories above the poverty line. The younger generations are particularly affected: tight labour markets, increased competition, precarious employment contracts (fixed-term and temporary), low wages and unaffordable housing. And while it provides work for an increasingly large cross-border workforce, which contributes to the country’s wealth, redistribution to neighbouring regions is slow in coming, a source of new dissatisfaction.
Those who represent the government and the majority in parliament are wrong to believe that they will be able to continue their momentum, getting elected on the basis of a clientelism that is shrinking in the face of the scale of the housing problems, the social and ecological malaise, the threat of job loss, underdeveloped guarantees against unemployment, and the development of social inequalities, even among the wage earners who were once called “middle”.
They will no longer be able to rely on the status quo, the strength of a historically declining CSV, while the number of wage earners who can only rely on themselves and their grassroots organisations, which in Luxembourg are mobilising and fighting for the rights of the most precarious and of workers, is growing.
From movement to tide
Our society and economy have been profoundly changed by the pandemic. If it was bad before, it is even worse now. While small businesses, independents and artisans have suffered the most from the situation, the larger ones, the commercial chains, the
While small artisans, independents and small businesses have suffered the most, the larger ones, the commercial chains, the multinationals, big finance and many others have emerged even stronger and are not willing to share. As a left-wing movement, as a political formation dedicated to the wage-earners and to those who have little or nothing except their labour power, here as elsewhere in the world, we must rely on the mobilisation and self-organisation capacities of the increasingly broad sectors of the population who aspire to profound changes. We must encourage and accompany all emancipatory struggles
We must encourage and accompany all emancipatory struggles in order to achieve a powerful tide that will profoundly transform our society on the social, ecological and democratic levels.
Noting therefore: that Luxembourg is dominated by the interests of those who live off the rents of the financial centre and large real estate and landed property; that no eco-socialist alternative is possible without the massive mobilisation of those who do not belong to the privileged classes; that dei Len is not sufficiently established within the social strata that we want to represent;
The Congress invites the National Coordination to pursue the development of an eco-socialist alternative based on the situation in Luxembourg; to set up a strategy of anchoring in the population, including workers, especially the most precarious; those who work in the essential sectors and who satisfy the needs of the population, those without whom society could not function; to concentrate the militant potential on the work of grassroots organisation after having
to set concrete objectives for the 2022 Congress; to launch a broad internal democratic debate on ecosocialist strategy in view of the next ordinary congress of dei Lenk in the first half of 2022, at which a text, after being widely discussed, will be drafted.
which a text, after having been widely debated, should be submitted to the vote of this
18th Ordinary Congress of dei Lenk
Party Conference 2020
Left-wing responses to the crisis
The coronavirus pandemic has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives around the world and greatly accelerated the onset of a global economic crisis. In Luxembourg, too, the security measures have put many people in existential distress and have aggravated the social inequalities that previously existed in our society. For example, people on low incomes have had to cope with months of partial unemployment and a resulting drop in income. In general, it is mainly those who live from their work who are confronted with existential fears, while those with capital are much less affected by the economic crisis. While many small entrepreneurs and private individuals do not know how to pay their rent, landlords persist on their income. Gender inequality has also increased in recent times. It is mainly women who work in the so-called “systemically important” professions and who have been on the front line during the health crisis. At the same time, they had to reconcile their work with childcare and home schooling. Luxembourg was already in the midst of a social crisis before the coronavirus appeared. The logic of the capitalist production system is that invested capital, through maximum profits, generates more and more capital for the owners. This accumulation of capital in the hands of a few results in the owners of capital becoming richer at the expense of the workers. While this process is regularly relativised and even justified by policy makers, it has increased social inequalities over the past years and decades. Even before the pandemic, a growing number of people, especially women, found themselves in precarious employment. The consequence is a steady increase in the risk of poverty, in the percentage of working poor and in the pressure and individual fear of being a loser oneself.
It is to be expected that all these factors will continue to grow in importance in the coming months.
The looming economic crisis should not obscure another danger. The risks of climate change have been known for some 30 years, but politicians have not yet changed their minds. It is increasingly unlikely that we will be able to limit the temperature increase to 2°C, let alone 1.5°C. Biodiversity loss has also reached alarming proportions. Once the ecological system is out of balance, the consequences will be unimaginable: hunger, disease, war. But already today, many people are suffering the consequences of climate change, drought and floods, lack of natural resources and the destruction of their livelihoods. With the economic downturn and reduced mobility due to the pandemic, CO2 emissions had fallen sharply during this period. At the same time, there is a risk that attempts will then be made to revive the economy at any cost. In this case, environmental concerns must not be relegated to the background, but must continue to be taken seriously.
dei Lénk notes with regret that the government fails to grasp all these problems as a whole and to treat them as such. It is mainly limited to implementing a symbolic policy: financial support for the purchase of electric cars, a minimum increase in the minimum wage of 0.9%, etc. A coherent approach is still lacking. The government still believes that the free market is the best regulator and prefers to rely on individual responsibility rather than clear rules. In particular, it is reluctant to make the granting of direct financial aid and state guarantees for loans due to the coronavirus crisis subject to social and environmental conditions.
The planned policy in the interests of business and the status quo will only make the situation worse rather than better. For it is clear that the many crises we are experiencing today are not due to chance, but to the way in which we act in economic matters. Overproduction and globalisation, accompanied by unacceptably long transport routes, aggravate climate change and contribute to the loss of biodiversity. And it is precisely overproduction, loss of biodiversity and the ever deeper intrusion into the remaining natural habitats of wild animals that facilitate the transition of new diseases to humans and thus the outbreak of epidemics.
It is also clear that each crisis worsens social inequalities within a society.
The lower the inequalities, the greater the public services and infrastructure, the more resilient a society is.
The current system of industrial agriculture is the product of the European Common Agricultural Policy of the last 60 years. It is based on the concentration of agricultural land for the benefit of a few large farmers and the crowding out of small family farms. It is neither economically nor environmentally sustainable. It involves high resource and energy consumption, huge external costs and massive loss of biodiversity. The transition to a sustainable, regional market-oriented agriculture that protects natural resources requires a reduction of subsidies to large producers and a promotion of family farms and cooperatives working in the organic sector.
For dei Lénk, it is therefore clear that climate change and social inequalities must be countered in parallel by courageous political decisions in order to prevent the impending economic crisis from turning into a deep social crisis. A fundamental change in policy is needed to give governments more room to manoeuvre.
We will not be able to overcome the social and environmental crisis as long as we remain attached to the dogma of permanent economic growth. While this dogma is still widely accepted, it is not sustainable because it is based on the unrestrained exploitation of limited natural and human resources.
In the fight against climate change, the government relies on so-called “green capitalism” to maintain the growth spiral: with the help of technical progress, production processes would become more energy-efficient and therefore more environmentally friendly. Despite faith in technical progress, it is clear to dei Lenk that we cannot continue to rely on profit maximisation and relentless growth. In order to reduce their costs, multinationals, for example, transport their goods over several continents during the manufacturing process to take advantage of low ecological and social standards. Such strategies can only be stopped with the help of strict rules that also include a sustainable and consistent trade policy. It is equally clear that the current consumption of electricity and energy cannot be fully covered by renewable resources. Consumption must be reduced through a targeted policy that sets high standards for the establishment of new economic sectors. The fairy tale of technical progress ignores the fact that an increase in energy efficiency is currently cancelled out by an increase in consumption (rebound effect). It is therefore important to reduce actual consumption by means of clear rules and laws.
The fundamental problems threatening our society are not natural laws, but the result of political decisions. Since the early 1980s, through a policy of privatisation and deregulation, more and more of the decision-making power has passed into the hands of special interests. In order to get out of the crisis system, it is essential that resources (finance, energy, etc.) and money creation are brought back under public control, in order to widen the political room for manoeuvre. Over the last thirty years the power of finance capital has become the determining factor in deciding the course of travel. Without a democratic control of this power (the banks and the financial sector), no democratic and ecological transformation of society will be possible. Particularly in Luxembourg, whose financial centre – against a background of tax and regulatory dumping – has become a hub of the ruthless exploitation of man and nature, questions of ownership, power and social and democratic choices are becoming increasingly important. And they are burning issues, since our economy is one-third dependent on the financial sector.
Over the past few years, dei Lénk has developed a large number of proposals
that could trigger such a policy change. The coronavirus crisis has
reaffirmed the need for fundamental changes. Without always addressing the big ideological
Without always addressing the big ideological issues, one-off changes can also make life easier for many people.
To reduce social inequalities in the country, the wealth created must be distributed more fairly. This is why dei Lénk is in favour of a tax reform that reduces the burden on working households and places a greater burden on capital income and large companies. A different form of distribution of the wealth created must be achieved by a general reduction in working hours without loss of pay. In a society where people are under increasing pressure, where depression is on the rise and where the time available for private life is shrinking, it is essential to free people from some of the workload. In addition, the impending economic crisis will lead to increased unemployment in the coming months. This implies that the workload must be distributed more fairly and that, at the same time, there is enough labour to fill the additional jobs to be created in specific sectors (care, health, etc.). In this sense, the reduction of working time makes both social and economic sense. It alleviates unemployment during the crisis and contributes to the financing of pensions beyond the crisis. It is also necessary to fight against overproduction due to the constant increase in productivity for social and environmental reasons and to move towards a post-growth society. A “de-acceleration” of work, production and transport is a precondition for fair and ecological consumption.
In order to tackle the terrible housing shortage, it is essential that the public authorities create the necessary housing themselves. Speculation on vacant housing and building land must also be combated by means of a special tax and, in the long term, tenant protection must be strengthened. In this respect, dei Lénk has tabled two bills in Parliament to effectively limit rents and, above all, to simplify access to rental housing. So far, the government parties have ignored these proposals. As the current emergency is pushing more and more people into poverty, the fight against the housing shortage will remain high on dei Lénk’s agenda in the future. In this context, déi Lénk continues to support alternative forms of housing and strongly opposes the policy against housing communities of the CSV-Déi Gréng148 DP majority in Esch.
In order to enable the transition to renewable energies, déi Lénk intends to put energy policy at the service of the community and to move away from fossil and nuclear energy sources. An ambitious programme of thermal insulation of residential buildings, which should primarily provide financial support for low-income families and apply in particular to rental accommodation, should help to reduce energy requirements. The education system also needs to be fundamentally renovated in order to eliminate social inequalities rather than reproduce them. From dei Lénk’s point of view, one of the most important instruments is the introduction of a school for all, based on joint learning from the ages of 4 to 16 (C1 to 4e). The aim is to promote joint learning until the end of the pupils’ compulsory education. During containment, it became clear that children from culturally and socially disadvantaged backgrounds were particularly disadvantaged. This reinforced a well-known problem in the Luxembourg school system, namely the excessive influence of the parental home on children’s educational success. In order to ensure equal educational opportunities for all children, learning should take place primarily at school. This can be achieved, among other things, through all-day schools. All these demands are feasible and would improve many things. However, they must be supported by the vast majority of society. If we want to initiate a real political change out of the current social crisis, it is not enough to dictate changes from above. Rather, it is a matter of creating a progressive balance of power within society that allows for far-reaching political change. An important factor is the mobilisation of civil society in street demonstrations for a different policy. Examples include the United for Climate actions and demonstrations, the first national women’s strike and the Black Lives Matter demonstration, as well as the protest picket against the CETA vote in Parliament during the lockdown. Changes need to be developed in collaboration with people, not imposed on them. We need to move towards a more democratic society, where
We need to move towards a more democratic society in which everyone has a voice, regardless of age, nationality or wallet. dei Lénk will therefore continue to work for the right to vote for all residents from the age of 16, but also for new spaces for democratic participation.
dei Lénk will take on the task of working together with all concerned and interested parties to sketch out a sustainable society based on solidarity and to show which political decisions can lead to this goal. dei Lénk will take on the task of working together with all concerned and interested parties to sketch out a sustainable society based on solidarity and to show which political decisions can lead to this goal.
With this in mind, the congress of 20 September adopted the following motion:
189 The 2020 National Congress of déi Lénk considering the following:
– social inequalities in Luxembourg are constantly increasing, as are the poverty rate and the proportion of poverty in employment;
– the blockade due to the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic crisis have
and will continue to fuel these inequalities;
– the world is facing an ecological crisis that is threatening biodiversity and eroding the basis of human livelihoods;
– the social and environmental crises are mutually reinforcing and are symptoms of a neoliberal economic system based on profit maximisation and endless growth;
– the government does not seem to have a clear strategy to get out of these crises;
– the current propaganda claims that there is no alternative to the current neoliberal economic system;
– the coronavirus pandemic has made us realise that the current policy leads to a dead end and that we need to rethink the current economic system;
invites the national coordination:
– to develop concrete proposals to fight against rising unemployment and other social consequences of the crisis;
– to bring the concrete proposals of 209 déi Lénk to the public debate in the coming months to fight against the housing crisis;
– to continue to work on specific measures aimed at a better distribution of income and wealth and to make the big polluters pay instead of putting the responsibility on individual citizens;
– to show solidarity with and support for the social, ecological, anti-racist and feminist mobilisations that are emerging in society;
– to work towards an exit strategy from the current economic system and a clear vision of a more sustainable society vision of a more equitable, free, just and sustainable society.
Party Conference 2019
15,000 young people demonstrated in the streets of Luxembourg to make their position on climate change loud and clear climate change. dei Lénk supports and encourages this commitment to change by the for change by the young generation. The climate crisis in which we find ourselves must finally be taken seriously finally be taken seriously!
We need Europe – but even more so we need a global social and ecological policy global level.
Solidarity with young people, because they are the future and they are right: “If not us, who else? If not now, when?
WAGNER David – 40 – député et conseiller communal déi Lénk – luxembourgeois
THOMA Carole – 28 – co-porte-parole déi Lénk – ingénieur en génie civile – luxembourgeoise
DIDERICH Gary – 36 – co-porte-parole déi Lénk et conseiller communal – directeur de société coopérative – luxembourgeois
GASHONGA Sandrine – 41 – formatrice à l’interculturalité – luxembourgeoise
MARTINS Mara – 20 – étudiante et agent socio-éducatif – luxembourgeoise et portuguaise
MONTSERRAT Antoni – 66 – fonctionnaire européen (e.r.) – espagnol
Resolutions by members of déi Lénk
Résolution: pour une politique sociale et écologique au niveau mondial
Kongressuerdnung / règlement du congrès