European left, the German Bierbaum is the new secretary. Ferrero will be number two


RUM RAISIN – The three days of the European Left – the party that brings together 65 parties of the continental radical left between members and observers – closes with a new secretary and the timeless singing of the International by delegates. It is the German Heinz Bierbaum, 73, a life in the metalworking union Ig Metall and head of Foreign Affairs of Linke ("left", in German), to succeed another German, Gregor Gysi, a prominent figure in politics in Germany since the time of the DDR, when the socialist state of the east was at sunset.

A somewhat surprising choice, in the sense that Bierbaum is known in the international trade union environment but very little to the general public. If the "old" Gysi could boast a political level of European level, it is not so for Bierbaum. "It is true – confirms the new secretary – but it is a phase in which more collective work is needed and this is where I will pay the utmost attention". Yes, because beyond the circumstantial phrases of public moments, the European Left project – founded by Fausto Bertinotti in 2004 – swims in stormy waters. Two of the most important radical left forces in Europe are not affiliated with it, such as Podemos and France Insoumise. The parliamentary group of the GUE also hosts other ecological forces that are not in the SE. I distinguish difficult to understand, since then the political area and the basic values ​​are common. "On the left there are those who believe that the EU is reformable and those who do not think so, but this cannot mean that we cannot cooperate, rather we must invest in recognizable and coordinated public campaigns between us", explains Bierbaum. Environmental reconversion, increase in public investments and rejection of austerity, solidarity and feminism policies: it is on these key points that Se will seek a relaunch.

The basic problem, however, is that in the whole of Europe the consensus of the extreme right on the one hand and of the environmentalist parties in the broad field of the left is increasing. Euroscepticism, a powerful fuel in contemporary public discourse, is the prerogative of sovereignists; while the space for "another Europe" has dramatically reduced after the unhappy experience of Syriza, the most important party of the SE, in government in Greece. The good results of Portugal, led by socialists and communists, did not have the same symbolic charge. "We have not been able to present ourselves as a credible alternative," Bierbaum always admits, referring to the negative result of previous European elections, where overall the GUE group has gone from 6.9 to 5.5 percent.

If the If is not doing well, it is even worse for the Italian "section". Rifondazione is a member, Sinistra Italiana is an observer. Together they did not reach 2 percent last May. If once Italy seemed to be a leading laboratory for the left of alternative, so much so that the idea of ​​founding the transnational party started on the impulse of the PRC, this round – to say – also lacked the Italian translation for the delegates. On the other hand, "in Spain – the former minister Paolo Ferrero, re-elected in the vice-presidency, reasons – our comrades are negotiating with the socialists for the government. We need to make known and value the qualifying points of this program, to let everyone know in Europe what is good we must be able to say in each country what the alternative left is able to do when it governs and what is our social utility, our effectiveness in defeating liberal policies ". But it will also be an executive hanging by a thread, the numbers in Parliament speak for themselves; for the left-left, in Italy and elsewhere, winter still seems long.

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