Debate & Discussion: A new era for Europe

Submitted by AWL on 21 July, 2005 - 12:08

About 200 organisers from across Europe met in Paris on 24-25 June, on the initiative of Expaces Marx (close to the French Communist Party) and the Fondation Copernic (Socialist Party people who voted “no” to the Euro-constitution). The French CP called for a cross-Europe petition “to have the ‘no’ vote respected” and the French LCR backed it; ATTAC announced its “ABC” plan for a “democratic refoundation of Europe”. The same day, 700 activists met in Nanterre (near Paris) for a national gathering of the 900 “collectives for a left-wing no” set up before the 29 May referendum.

There was debate there over campaigning for a different Euro-consitution or for a constituent assembly in France, but no decision was reached.

On 30 June delegations from the LCR (one of the main revolutionary groups in France) and the CP met and issued a statement praising the 24-25 June gatherings and promising to work together for a “vast popular mobilisation.”

One thing all this has certainly achieved is a revival of the CP, which claims 4,500 new members from the referendum campaign and has plainly disarmed much of the criticism from its left which it used to get from the LCR. Whether it has any further grip on politics is another question.

Excerpts from the 24-25 June meeting’s declaration:

The victory of the No vote in France is that of the Left, pro-European, alternative-globalist, feminist and democratic No, against neo-liberalism and war. Together with the Dutch no and the growing mobilisations (to be developed) in the public opinion of a number of countries for the rejection of this document, it constitutes a major political event for the whole of Europe. We must seize this first victory against the neo-liberal Europe and extend it. Experience shows us that popular and citizen unity can lead to majorities against neo-liberalism.

We want to transcend the crisis of this European construction that has the market as its idol and secret negotiations as its liturgy so as to found a social, democratic, peaceful, feminist and ecological Europe of solidarity between the peoples.

Together, we want to develop a broad citizen’s movement on a European scale, to create, from the local to the European level, in solidarity with all the peoples of the world, political and social dynamics in favour of Another Europe.

It is a matter of resisting and winning in opposition to neoliberal policies.

• Of building a broad and determined mobilisation round immediate political objectives (withdrawal of the liberalisation directives under way, particularly the Bolkestein directive and that on working hours, which must be replaced by a new directive that really limits working hours and enables improvements in working conditions).

• Of demanding that the peoples be able to decide their future and that their choices be respected. In this respect, we propose a campaign that could be based on a petition, in all the countries, demanding a fundamental change of European policies.
So as to discuss and build alternatives to neoliberal policies in Europe, we hope to engage in an approach open to all the forces opposed to neoliberalism that wish to take part. It must enable:

• The encouragement of the irruption of peoples on the European scene, which is the only way out of the crisis

• Contribution to the expression of concrete citizen and popular demands for another Europe

• Creation of a European public space based on the principles of pluralism, tolerance, secularism, in a spirit of togetherness and unity enabling the agglomeration of many forces

• Articulation of alternative proposals

• The strengthening of our cooperation with the peoples of Eastern Europe so as to improve the material and political conditions of their participation in the struggle for a democratic and social Europe, with a view to devoting the budgetary means needed and bridging the existing gap between the two parts of the continent.

• The building of a Europe that rejects discrimination, racism and patriarchal domination

• The rejection of the logic of war and of the militarisation of the European Union, the building of a Europe acting in favour of another world.

• Building a social, democratic, peaceful, feminist, ecological Europe of solidarity.

• It must everywhere be involved in a broad political debate for building a social, democratic and ecological Europe. To this end we call on all political, trade union and voluntary organisation activists, networks and movements, to all citizens everywhere to initiate encounters, meetings and assemblies enabling the elaboration of proposals. This vast movement could lead to a Manifesto or Charter of social, democratic and environmental rights, outlining the Europe that we want.

• It would take its full place in the European Social Forum process.

• The Athens ESF in April 2006 will enable an assessment of this work.

• Some proposals for mobilisation have been made at our encounter: for a day of European demonstrations against the Bolkestein directive linked to the international demonstration against the WTO at Geneva on 15 October; for a day of European demonstrations during the EU Summit on 15 December; for a day of local mobilisations for another Europe with assemblies, meetings, social forums on 4 March 2006; for an alternative Europe/Latin America summit in Austria on 13 May 2006.

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