A call for unity (final, edited version)
On Saturday 18th November 2017, people from different movements came together at a seminar against EU-politics with the title “Another Europe is Possible” and the platform: Breaking with EU politics: Yes to just transition, common welfare, peace, environment and antiracism. It concluded with this call for unity:
Coming as we do from different ideological backgrounds, we see the urgent need to find a common ground. Coming also from the countryside, from cities, from the periphery of Europe from the unprivileged, we recognize the common interests that unite us in solidarity with the global majority and with generations yet to come.
However, EU-politicians have a different vision. Rather than solving the social and ecological crisis which has resulted from a development model built on ever growing debt, they try the same trick again. The heads of state gathered at the “Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth for the European Union” held in Gothenburg on the 17th of November 2017, claimed once again that the social promises they made three decades ago will finally come true once they have streamlined the EU according to the interests of the corporations.
In fact, the European Union began here in Gothenburg in 1983, when the European Roundtable of Industrialists was initiated from the HQ of Volvo in Gothenburg by Pehr G. Gyllenhammar, the head of Volvo at that time. This group of corporate leaders, that is still influential today, put together the blueprint for turning the European Economic Community into the European Union – a single market in the interests of the corporations, promoting social cuts to fund large-scale growth projects such as the building of motorways. This was sold to the public in Europe by claiming that an important social dimension would also be added – something that never really materialized.
Instead however, EU-policies have attacked the rights of the workers. At the same time the adopted development model is causing a multi-dimensional crisis both inside and outside of the EU. Shaped by the Treaty of Rome from 1957, which gave special privileges to the values of a market economy above all others, the result has been a new way to organize colonial relationships – changing the method of governance from direct political power to economic control. A kind of neocolonial rule, shaped by international trade and finance agreements and prolonging the current Western dominated world order. This neocolonialism also enables the centre to exploit the periphery, both at the domestic level within the EU countries and between EU member countries. The way in which Greece is treated is a clear demonstration of what the centre is willing to impose upon the periphery.
This model built on ever-increasing debt, created growing tensions and finally resulted in the financial crisis of 2008. Once again, corporate interests want to further increase oppressive measures to lower the price of work and lower the cost of natural resources. The rights of workers are under attack and family farmers and others, working under the precarious conditions of perfect competition, find themselves under extreme financial pressures.
The way the EU has shaped bilateral and other trade and investment treaties has enabled corporations to gain access to new markets while local business is given the role of providing resources and cheap labour. In addition, in order to maintain its privileged position in the present world order EU is centralising and becoming militarised in close cooperation with NATO. All of this is increasing tensions within and between countries.
This role of the EU has to be questioned and at our alternative summit we shared, discussed and developed different ideas and the aspects that we feel we need to take into account when it comes to establishing a political and economical system that serves people rather than the big corporations and their interests.
At the core of the seminar “Another Europe is Possible” held during the Alternative Summit was the understanding that the present political and economical conjuncture calls for unity and an understanding of the common interests shared between those working in the fields to grow food and those working in factories or the service industries. The economy must be regulated to allow agriculture, as well as industry and services, to flourish at the expense of financial interests. Equally important is developing international unity to oppose wars, militarism, the militarisation of the EU and its growing links with NATO.
Trade unions, refugee support groups, peace, antiracist, feminist, social and ecological movements must unite in a common struggle for constructive solutions and a transition towards just societies where everyone can have a fair share of Earth’s natural resources.
Although our different struggles take on many forms and colors, we share the view that the following points are the root causes of our social, political, economic and environmental problems:
– The EU capitalist project has developed its economic model through deregulation, privatization and opening up of markets with treaties and agreements that mainly focus on growth of production and consumption to benefit large companies and corporations.
– Democratic institutions and processes have been undermined by authoritarian tendencies. Western countries have increasingly moved towards a representative democracy that begins and ends with the right to vote. Citizens are viewed as having a right to participate in the political area only at election time. The European Union has also moved core decisions further away from the people.
– Western nations have a long history of colonization. To understand and take into consideration the privileged status of western culture and some European nations is key to taking responsibility for the colonial legacy that maintains unequal power structures.
– The oppression of racism and patriarchy should be recognised as the core instruments of the colonial and capitalist agenda. For example, dualistic views are employed by the hegemonic forces that want to strengthen border controls and cut immigration.
– Current western culture is based on an idea that humans are somehow placed above the rest of the nature. This belief has helped drive a system that extracts vast amounts of materials from Mother Earth and distances further humans from a close and caring relationship with nature.
– All forms of media are controlled by corporations and do not therefore provide citizens with facts that are unbiased and objective and help them become better informed and take responsible actions
– The current demonization of others and the militarization of societies has to be replaced by promoting both peace on earth and peace with earth.
We stand for:
– Economia solidaria
– Food sovereignty
– Climate justice
– Strong citizen involvement, participation
– Open borders for people in need (refugees)
– Critical thinking: independent research and media
– Return to an idea of common security: sharing common values.
– Culture inspired by Buen vivir and self reliance
Therefore we participate in:
– Assembly of Resistance in Budapest (as a part of the World Social Forum) in February 2018
– World Social Forum in Brazil 2018
– De-growth Conference in Malmö, Sweden 2018
– Norwegian Social forum September 2018
– Finnish Social Forum 2018
– Conferences on agriculture and forestry as well as food sovereignty week in Sweden.
– UN processes on small peasants rights, corporations and human rights, renumeration for slavery and colonialism and nuclear weapon ban convention.
Participants at the seminar Another Europe is Possible.
Remark: Here you can watch some videos about the counter-EU actions we made