Against the background of failed state socialisms and the crisis of socialism in Latin America, the term “socialism” was long frowned upon when it came to discussing current political and social problems. At present, however, in Western democracies the voices calling for a revival of socialist projects are becoming louder. In the mother countries of neoliberalism, the USA and Great Britain, politicians who openly plead for “democratic socialism” can mobilize broad masses in recent years. And there are also attempts in the academic world to initiate new debates on the concept of socialism. It is undisputed that any revival of the concept must critically reflect the history of real socialism. More controversial are the questions of how exactly a socialist future project should be understood and realized and which social areas it should cover. The answer to these questions determines what is meant by “socialism”.
How far-reaching are the societal transformations that are subsumed under the concept of socialism? Does a socialist future project essentially present itself as an alternative economic order? Or does the concept of socialism concern the deeper (moral) idea of an alternative understanding of freedom, which differs from that of liberalism? Is there even the idea of socialism or do we need manifold socialisms in order to initiate the path to a modernity based on solidarity?
We want to discuss these questions with Lea Ypi (London School of Economics), Giacomo Corneo (Freie Universität Berlin) and Michael Brie (Rosa Luxemburg Foundation) on December 12, 2019 in Vierte Welt. The event is the prelude to a series of events on the topic of Re-Thinking Socialism, which we will continue in the coming semesters.