4 November > 6 November

Athens, Greece

Europe in crisis, social resistance, political prospects and the Left

4-5-6 of November, at Athens University of Economics, three days of discussion of the European anticapitalist Left

The European Union is clearly sinking into crisis. Successive European Summits don’t produce any results. Political and social issues of high importance remain unaddressed. The “national” policies of many member-states are already diverging more and more…

As we have recently wrote: «There is nothing promising in the Eurozone (…), the project of “euroglobalization” is becoming repulsive and a growing part of political and financial elites is attracted -or forced- to a trend towards de-globalization and a re-nationalization of their policies…».

This trend was revealed at the highest level with the decision for Brexit in Britain -at least concerning the conservative, xenophobic right-wing forces that dominated the Brexit campaign and the consequent reshuffle of the ruling political-governmental forces.

But this trend can also be seen in an international current towards a return to “national sovereignty”, which is growing in major imperialist countries, expressed by “figures” like Donald Trump in USA, Marine Le Pen and Nicola Sarkozy in France and -in a peculiar way- Beppe Grillo in Italy.

The recent experience in Greece and SYRIZA’s capitulation leads us to the following conclusion: It is impossible to implement a radical transitional program against austerity while staying in the margins permitted by the Eurozone. It is impossible to reverse the policies dictated by the Memorandum without a rupture with the Eurozone and without engaging in a consistent insubordination and confrontation with the Directives, the Treaties, the norms and the practices that constitute the foundations of the European Union.

The discussion on this experience -which is absolutely relevant in Portugal and Spain right now- and the much-needed differentiation against the current of pursuing “national sovereignty” from the right and from above are crucial tasks for the forces of the anticapitalist Left in Europe.

The crisis in the EU has its roots in the social question. Savage austerity and neoliberal reforms affect all the countries, even major economies like France –where the workers movement and the youth movement provide new lessons of hope to those who rushed to consider social resistance as a thing of the past. While Brexit signified the crisis of EU “from above”, the social struggles in France are a clear sign of this crisis “from below”, with the direct, massive intervention of the people.

However, another aspect of the Greek experience was the importance of political struggle. The crisis and the mutation of SYRIZA, the problems in the political direction and the leadership of Podemos, the challenges that Bloco is facing in Portugal (where it chose to provide support together with the Communist Party to a social-democratic government…) prove that “broad parties” or the radical Left in Europe have reached a historical limit.

Without an emergence of effective and massive forces inside them that push for an anticapitalist turn, the danger of sinking into social-democratic mutation is visible. The discussion on this issue is another crucial obligation of the anticapitalist Left.

But the “great” political debates are never effective if they happen in conditions of political passivity. We are facing a multitude of obligations: The organization of resistance against imperialism and war, the organization of solidarity to refugees and immigrants, the struggle against islamophobia, racism and the neonazis.

We want to discuss all these issues during the international meeting of the European anticapitalist Left in Athens, in 4-5-6 of November.

Comrades from Anticapitalistas inside Podemos, from Bloco in Portugal, from Sinistra Anticapitalista in Italy, from NPA in France, from “Granazi” in Cyprus, from MPS in Switzerland, from ISO in USA, from Socialist Alternative in Australia, and militants who supported the “Lexit” campaign in Britain will be joining us. And of course comrades from Popular Unity (LAE) and other forces of the radical Left in Greece will also participate.

We will try to organize a democratic and substantial international political discussion on the crucial questions we are facing in the political struggle in this critical period.

Program

Friday 4/11/2016 :
Opening 6:00 pm - Europe in crisis
Introductions:
- Neil Davidson (Radical Independence Campaign, RISE, Scotland -RS21, England)
- Eric Toussaint (CADTM, Belgium)
- Franco Turigliatto (Sinistra Anticapitalista, Italy)
- Stathis Kouvelakis (Popular Unity)
- Panos Kosmas (Red Network, Popular Unity)

Interventions:
- Giannis Milios
- Panagiotis Sotiris (ARAN, Popular Unity)


Saturday 5/11/16

10.30 am -1 pm : Workers struggles and the unions

Introductions:
- Christian Mahieux (Sud Solidaires, France)
- Eliana Como (FIOM, Italy)
- Giorgos Charisis (POE-OTA, national federation of municipal workers)
- Katerina Giannoulia (Union of Employees in the Ministry of Agricultural Development)

Interventions:
- Naya Nikolaou (OTOE, Federation of Bank Employees)
- Nikos Potamitis (Union of Employees of Zakynthos Hospital)
- Dimitris Gardiklis (Union of Employees of Asklipio Voulas Hospital)


2.00 pm - 4:30 pm: The far-right and the refugees

Introductions:
- Luz Mora (VISA, Trade Union Antifascist Initiative)
- Samouil Samos («Granazi», Cyprus)
- Giorgos Tsiakalos (University Professor)
- Thanasis Kourkoulas (“Deport Racism” Organization)

Interventions:
- Mania Barsefski (Red Network, Popular Unity)
- Liz Walsh (Socialist Alternative, Australia)
- Pavlos Antonopoulos (Co-ordination of unions and organizations for the refugees)
- Aris Vasilopoulos (Mayor of Nea Philadelphia-Chalkidona)


6:00 pm : Political Struggle and the Left

Introductions:
- Manuel Gari (Anticapitalistas- Podemos, Spanish State)
- Marco Neves (Bloco, Portugal)
- Sharon Smith (ISO, USA)
- Maria Bolari (Red Network, Popular Unity)
- Leon Cremieux (NPA, France)

Interventions:
- Christos Laskos (Networking of the Radical Left)
- Eleni Portaliou


Sunday 6/11/16

12:00: The alternative: Connecting the struggle against austerity with the confrontation with the Eurozone

Introductions:
- Miguel Urban (Member of European Parliament, Podemos, Spanish State)
- Olivier Besancenot (NPA, France)
- Panagiotis Lafazanis (Popular Unity)
- Antonis Ntavanelos (Red Network, Popular Unity)

Interventions:
- Giannos Giannopoulos (Popular Unity)
- Antonis Draganigos (ANTARSYA)
- Giorgos Sapounas (Red Network, Popular Unity)
- Dimitris Sarafianos (ARAS, Popular Unity)


Source: RProject

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