Initiated and organised by social movements, ten years after the first European Social Forum in Florence, the Firenze 10+10 assembly took place. Along the five thematic axes: Democracy / Finance, debt, austerity / Labour and social rights / Commons and public services / Europe in the Mediterranean and the world, many seminars, convergence meetings and discussions were held. Also networks and campaigns have been initiated, among them the newly built European Progressive Economists Network in which transform! europe takes part (find the respective press release below).
There have also been made first steps towards a solidarity campaign proposed by Greek activists, called “Solidarity for All” – a call for supporting and cooperating with Greek grassroots solidarity initiatives and for organising medical support (watch out for more information on transform’s website or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org).
transform! europe organised two grand discussions with participation of social movement activists, political actors and trade unionists entitled: “How to Found Europe Anew? - Which Construction? Which Political Strategy?” and “A Dialogue between Social Movements and Political Actors: Coping with the Challenge Posed by the Crisis”. Among the speakers of the latter discussion for the first time also the ETUC Deputy General Secretary, Patrick Itschert, took part (for more details see the last special edition vol. 13a of our newsletter).
Furthermore a merged workshop on “How to Oppose the Extreme Right” together with Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and Prague Spring 2 Network with activists from all over Europe took place.
transform! was also present with a stand in cooperation with the Party of the European Left and the member organization transform!Italia which presented the Italian edition of the transform! journal #10: “Democrazia: una sfida per l’Europa”.
Find below the call for common action and the proposed roadmap emerged from the final convergence meeting of Firenze 10+10 and the press release of the newly founded European Progressive Economists Network:
More than 4,000 participants, 300 networks and organisations from 28 countries from all over Europe and beyond, met at Fortezza da Basso in Florence from 9 to 11 November, to debate and strategize together for another Europe. Over 100 meetings took place and many new networks and campaigns were launched.
Social organizations, social movements, trade unions and citizens working against austerity and debt, for natural and social commons, for social and labour rights, for democracy, global justice and peace, for gender issues and migrant rights have gathered in Florence 10+10.
We call for a European permanent mobilization to support the fights against the crisis and build a future for everyone in Europe and in the world. This mobilization will include both convergence and decentralized actions.
general strikes and mobilisations against austerity in many countries in Europe on 14 November 2012.
common day of action on the occasion of the EU Spring Summit, which will take place in Brusselson 23 March. The format and final call for this common mobilization will be discussed and agreed upon in the following months in an open and participatory process.
We call for endorsement of the following actions and mobilizations:
All organisations and movements may endorse the actions in which to participate and the forms for doing so.
Press Release, 9 November 2012
The European Progressive Economists Network has been launched at the Firenze 10+10 forum meeting promoted by EuroMemorandum, Économistes Atterrés from France, Sbilanciamoci! from Italy, and Another Road for Europe, bringing together a variety of groups of economists and think tanks including Econosphères from Belgium, econoNuestra from Spain, the Transnational Institute, the network Critical Political Economy, transform! europe and many other organisations.
The European Progressive Economists Network has launched the following document on policy alternatives for Europe and will participate in the initiatives and events emerging from Firenze 10+10:
“The European Progessive Economists Network brings together groups of economists and other researchers, institutes and civil-society coalitions who are critical of the dominant economic and social policies that have brought Europe to the current crisis. We seek to promote a European wide debate on policy alternatives based on the following six points.
1. Austerity policies should be reversed and the drastic conditionality imposed on countries receiving EU emergency funds must be radically revised, starting with Greece. The dangerous constraints of the “fiscal compact” need be removed, so that countries can defend public expenditure, welfare and wages, while the EU assumes a greater role in stimulating demand, promoting full employment and taking a new course of sustainable and equitable progress. European policies should reduce current account imbalances by obliging surplus countries to also adjust.
2. Policies must favour a redistribution that reduces inequalities, and move towards fiscal harmonization, putting an end to tax competition, with a shift of the tax burden away from labour and towards profits and wealth. Policies must favour public services and social protection. Labour and collective bargaining have to be defended; labour rights are a key part of Europe’s democratic rights.
3. Facing Europe’s financial crisis – marked by the interaction between a banking crisis and the public debt crisis – the European Central Bank must act as a lender of last resort in the government bond markets. The public debt problem has to be solved with a common responsibility of the Eurozone; debt should be assessed by a public audit.
4. A radical downsizing of the financial sector is needed, with a financial transaction tax, the elimination of speculative finance and the control of capital movements. The financial system must be brought under social control; it must be transformed so that it promotes socially and environmentally sustainable productive investment and employment.
5. A fundamental ecological transition provides a way out of Europe’s crisis. Europe must reduce its ecological footprint and its use of energy and natural resources. Its policies must enhance new ways of producing and consuming. A major investment programme promoting sustainability can provide high quality jobs, expanding capabilities in new innovative fields and enlarging possibilities for action at the local level, especially on public goods.
6. Democracy has to be expanded at all levels in Europe. The European Union has to be reformed and the concentration of power in the hands of few states and unaccountable institutions that has taken place during the crisis has to be reversed. The aim is to achieve greater citizens’ participation, a major role for the European Parliament, and a much more significant democratic control over key decisions.
Facing a risk of collapse, Europe’s policies need to change course. An alliance between civil society, trade unions, social movements and progressive political forces is needed to lead Europe out of the crisis created by neo-liberalism and finance. The European Progressive Economists Network seeks to contribute to this change.”