Wonderful Copenhagen!

Submitted by AWL on 11 January, 2003 - 5:57

Alan Turvey reports

To coincide with the European Union summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, in mid-December, at which ten eastern and central European states were admitted to membership, thousands of mainly young people demonstrated in the bitter Scandinavian cold - in the main not against "the EU" or "Europe" as such, but against "the capitalist EU".

At the main demonstration, on Saturday 15 December I was pleasantly surprised by the internationalist tone of the speeches and many placards at the opening rally with speakers from various trade unions and social movements (such as the anti-war movement) from around the world. It was organised by the "Campaign for Another Europe" and the slogan was "Our world is not for sale - people before profit".

There was only a very small number of comrades with slogans like "No the EU" or "Boycott Israel".
The "undogmatic communist" organisation Avanti, based in Hamburg, who brought the only meaningful turnout on the demo from outside Denmark, had problems with the latter slogan and in a broadsheet distributed on the demo they, along with three anti-fascist groups wrote: "...a boycott like this would still be strongly connected to the slogans of the National Socialists like Deutsche - kauft nicht bei Juden or Germans do not buy from Jews. In most public debates there is a tendency to equate Jewish with Israeli."

The main visible and lively force at the rally and on the demonstration was the "Enhedslisten" and its youth wing the SUF, armed with red flags, a van, a band, but no leaflets or papers. The "unity list" or "Red-Green Alliance" has three MPs in the Danish Parliament. The Alliance has existed for 13 years and exists essentially to fight elections. But the Alliance is not an alliance of various groups, nor is a "green" party part of the Enhedslisten.

The Danish group belonging to the "Mandelite" Fourth International, the SAP, is part of the Alliance, and distributed a leaflet "Internationalists together for another Europe":

"The EU must be fought, but not through the blinkered nationalism that lines up behind behind political and economic masters of power in the member countries....We can begin to make this a reality by uniting the trade unions and other movements around a programme of immediate urgent demands, and by confronting the politicians - whether it is national governments or the EU - with these demands."

However, "confronting the EU" would be as much use as pissing into the wind as (in the next sentence) "it could not create an EU which guarantees social, economic and environmental progress: an EU in the interests of the workers would demand such a change in EU ideology and structure that it would be another institution. The fight against the neo-liberal offensive and for social, economic, democratic and environmental advance is therefore a fight against the current policy of the EU and against the EU as such.... The 4th International in Europe fights against the EU...."

Despite such leaflets and a few similar placards and banners, the tone of the demonstration was set by the speakers and official slogans, which were internationalist. It was not organised by the main, "official", "left" anti-EU alliance, which has existed in various forms since the 1970s, when it was founded to campaign against Denmark's entry into the EEC (as the EU was then called).

Despite a massive police presence (the vast majority of Denmark's police were in Copenhagen over the weekend), the cancellation of the Schengen Agreement which allows free movement between most EU member states, and a number of provocations (the holding up of German coaches for hours on end at the border) and some arrests, including the brutal arrest of an Indymedia journalist, the activities passed off peacefully.

Age Skovrind, press officer of the "Enhedslisten" said, "There are two campaigns, influenced by the left, which are extra-parliamentary, the Campaign for Another Europe, and [the Stalinist] Stop Unionen. The latter is stuck in the old 'yes/no' question, whereas the former generally attempts to attack the current policies of the EU, such as no to fortress Europe, no to the EU's neoliberal policies. This hanging-on to the yes/no-question is a remnant left over from the times when the Stalinists and the reformists attempted to convince bourgeois anti-EU people of their case."

Skovrind is a member of the SAP, the Danish section of the "Mandelite" Fourth International. The same SAP? Is this dialectics, comrade?

Enheidslisten: www.enheidslisten.dk
SAP: www.sap-fi.dk

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