Communiqué from the EFP – After Pipol9

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On July 13 last, in Brussels, the General Assembly of the Eurofederation of Psychoanalysis unanimously decided to re-appoint me as President for the coming two years. Once I was appointed, I asked the Council of the EFP to renew its trust in our treasurer, Alide Tassinari, and in our secretary, Maria Bolgiani. Together we constitute the bureau of the EFP. We are honoured by this renewed trust, and it will allow us to continue with the work we had previously undertaken, in connection of course with the presidents of the four European Schools that constitute the EFP as well as with the President of the WAP. This will allow us to render even more incisive the action of psychoanalysis in the Lacanian orientation in Europe. I propose here to succinctly retrace a few considerations ordered around the thee strategic axes of the action of the EFP which have oriented us over the course of the past two years, and which will continue to orient us for the next two. They are: the Congress of the EFP, the European Forums, and the dispositif of the Pass in the EFP.

1. The effect of PIPOL9 and the announcement of PIPOL10
The fifth Congress of the Eurofederation of Psychoanalysis, Pipol 9, which took place in Brussels on 13 and 14 July, gave us an intense burst of desire and vitality just before the summer break. The path that took us to its realisation was not easy: an unfavourable contingency, the departure of the Tour de France from Brussels the previous week, forced us to change our date although our preparations were under way. It was pushed by a week. And often, in Europe, by mid-July a lot of people are already on holidays. Despite this, the team led by Yves Vanderveken, the Congress Director, worked very hard and very inventively and 1200 people came to Brussels in the middle of the summer for a memorable event. Those that gave up two days of their summer holidays to come to Brussels were well rewarded for their effort!
A complex theme, and in many respects unprecedented in the congresses of our field – the unconscious and the brain: nothing in common– found in Brussels the opportunity for an epistemic condensation, a precipitation which gave to this title shaped like a thesis, suggested by Jacques-Alain Miller, the solidity of a discourse. It operated in the manner of an agalmatic reagent. We can now say that we have at our disposal a solid elaboration on the question of the relation between psychoanalysis and the neurosciences. This question, oriented by Lacan and Jacques-Alain Miller’s teaching, connected to the mutations of our time, was developed, explored, brought to light in Brussels, in a manner of speaking. Issue 40 of Mentalwill provide a written testimony of this work, publishing the interventions of PIPOL 9’s plenaries in a volume dedicated to our fifth Congress. In the course of the Congress we were able to measure how incommensurable these two domains are – and this, especially thanks to scientists from the so-called “hard” sciences. This orients our actions by allowing us to preserve, at the heart of our practice, the specificity of the Freudian unconscious from the various ideological attempts at integration-absorption within the ambit of a so-called scientific psychology. This psychology is founded on neurobiology and finds its supporters especially amongst the partisans of neuropsychoanalysis.
On the political plane, the Congress showed the extent to which an orientation on the singular real of the subject allowed practitioners who work in institutions to find differentiated solutions, which specify psychoanalysis. These solutions contribute, according to specific contexts, to avoid being caught in the logic of the standards of evaluation. The international panel on “Mental Health under scientist and managerial threat” allowed us to appreciate the plurality of the modes of action to counter the dominant drift in the field of mental health today.
At the clinical level, the 140 cases selected for our simultaneous panels on Saturday 13 July emphasised the Foucault unconscious as irreducible to the standardised nosographies of mental health and the therapeutic recommendations which stem from it by counterpoising an orientation which is respectful of the unique dimension of the clinical case.
The excellent organisation of PIPOL 9 alternated, symphony-like, moments for fundamental debates, flashes from the experience of Analysts of the Schools, conversations on specific themes, and brief videos imbued with a biting irony inspired by the theme of the Congress. This introduced a lightness which sustained the public’s constant and sustained attention up to the conclusion of the Congress.
In the wake of this successful experience, we are delighted to announce that the sixth Congress of the EFP, PIPOL10, will take place in Brussels Square on the first weekend of July 2021. It will be directed by Dominique Holvoet. We thank him for having taken on this essential function and we give him our best wishes for the work he will have to undertake over the course of the next two years.

2. European Forums and the Zadig network
Our first mandate directing the EFP coincided with the moment of the creation, by Jacques-Alain Miller, of the Movida Zadig in May 2017 and the development of the experience of the European Forums during the two years that followed. The EFP played an important part in the elaboration, coordination and unfolding of the four European Forums that took place: three in Italy, as Jacques-Alain Miller proposed, in close collaboration with the SLP (in Turin, Rome and Milan), and one Forum took place in Brussels initiated by the ECF and NLS. In these forums, important themes were debated, themes that have to do with the current discontents of civilisation: democracy between degradation and desire, the “stranger” and the migrant question, discourses that kill, Europe between love and hate. We were thus able to instate a dialectics between psychoanalysts from our four Schools and representatives of civil society, universities, intellectuals and politicians. Three issues of Mental, which I edited, were produced – issues 37 Desires for Democracy, 38 Stranger(s), and the most recent issue 39, Mass Psychology today. These publications enabled, especially in the fundamental articles section, to transmit to readers the substance of what emerged in the Forums. The Forums indisputably triggered the putting into play of an unprecedented reading of the crucial themes of contemporary civilisation. They allowed us to establish links with interlocutors who are sensitive to our conceptions, and conferred more visibility upon our action.
The current context of the ELP has not so far enabled the organisation of a European Forum. And this despite the fact that we raised the possibility following a proposition from the outgoing president of the ELP, the coordinator of Zadig-Spain and his successor and had agreed a date, February 2020, and a place, Madrid. The absence of a sufficient consensus in Spain did not provide the Council of the ELP with the necessary conditions to programme fruitfully a Forum, whose theme would have been historical memory. In spite of this, the Movida-Zadig initiative is acquiring, under the impulsion of those that are in charge of it, its own consistency on the basis of local conversations in numerous places within the ELP. Thus, 5 conversations initiated and supported by Zadig-Spain took place, in collaboration with the local representatives of each of the cities where they were held: Granada and Valencia in 2018, Madrid, Valencia and Alicante in 2019. The President and the Council of the ELP suggest, on the basis if these local events, that we continue in this way by intervening, and giving the necessary impulsion for the realisation of conversations and other modalities connected to, of course, the demands of the present.
Following these experiences, in the Council of the EPF which statutorily includes the President of the WAP, an après-coup was necessary. We assessed the importance of preserving the precious dispositif of the European Forums from automaton and repetition which would lose its innovative dimension. It will always be ready to come into play as soon as a real contingency will render it necessary. But the logical time in which we are caught renders more urgent the articulation of work which seeks to build, at the local level and with continuity, Zadig networks with interlocutors from the civil and intellectual society belonging to this city or province, the same reality, and where encounters will take place. So what is at stake now is to shift the focus from the discontinuity of the big event European Forum and towards the continuity of a weaving of local networks which will last and grow strong with time.

3. The Pass within the EFP
The third aspect that I want to draw your attention to concerns the pass. The EFP has the mandate to set up, for the Schools which don’t as yet have their own pass cartel, a cartel of the EFP which can receive the pass requests from colleagues of the SLP and NLS. The ECF has always had its own pass cartels/commission, and the ELP has done so for a while. It is not the same for the SLP and the NLS. For these reasons, a cartel SLP-EFP has been active for a while, formed for a duration of two years. Its members changed once already, in 2018. The SLP-EFP cartel already nominated three Italian AEs, currently in function: Domenico Cosenza, Gian Francesco Arzente and Alejandro Reinoso (who, in addition to being a member of the SLP, is also a member and AS of the NEL as he lives and practices in Santiago de Chile). The experience of the cartel EFP-NLS functions for now ad hoc, it is formed with each request. On the occasion of the Congress PIPOL 9, on July 13, for the first time this cartel nominated an AS of the NLS: Florencia Férnandez Coria Shanahan, who lives and works in Dublin. In order to celebrate this first nomination, the NLS decided, in agreement and collaboration with the EFP, to organise an event in Ghent on Sunday29 September 2019, in preparation for the NLS Congress, and where the new AS will be able to do her first Pass Testimony. In conclusion, let us add that as far as the EFP is concerned, the Pass is in motion in the SLP and in the NLS both.

With best wishes to all,

Domenico Cosenza
President of the EFP

Translated by Véronique Voruz

New Lacanian School
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