An outstanding event during the Firenze 10+10 Forum was the launching of the Alter Summit. It was attended by 850 people from 20 European countries, representing more than 100 organizations.
In the course of the assembly speakers of Greek trade unions and social movements, the CGT, CADTM, Attac Europe, the TNI, the Spanish 15-M Movement as well as the Deputy General secretary of the ETUC, Parick Itchert, took the floor. On behalf of the transform! network Walter Baier addressed the audience by emphasizing the need for a joint European struggle of all social, cultural and political actors for a European alternative.
The launching event demonstrated that already now, the Alter Summit project enjoys the support of many cultural and political personalities. There have been solidarity addresses by Ken Loach (film director), Jan Kavan (former president of UN General Assembly), Gabi Zimmer (GUE/NGL), Pierre Laurent (the president of the EL) and Alexis Tsipras (SYRIZA), Isabelle Durant and Philippe Lamberts (both MEPs, Greens) and by Liem Hoang Ngoc (MEP, Socialists).
The proposal which has been presented in accordance with important Greek social movements and the two major Greek trade unions is to hold the Alter Summit from 7 to 9 June 2013 in Athens.
In a number of countries there have been established national preparation committees; an assembly of delegates of these committees and the European networks which are active in the preparation will be held on 13 and 14 December in Brussels.
Find below the press release on the Alter Summit from 11 November:
A coalition committed to creating a new balance of power in Europe announced six months of mobilization against the EU "austeritarian" choices. Actions at European level shall culminate in an Alter Summit* in early June 2013.
During the Florence 10+10 rally, 10 years after the first European Social Forum in Florence (2002), the Alter Summit was launched, with an audience of 850 people from 20 countries in Europe, representing more than 100 organizations, including many unions (national or European), social movements, research institutes and environmental, feminist or anti-globalization organizations. The Alter Summit project also benefits from the support of many cultural and political personalities.
The will to convene this Summit of the peoples and alternatives is based on a call (www.altersummit.eu) that identifies the fundamentally political dimension of the EU crisis: the austeritarian answers are chosen knowingly although they aggravate the crisis, to impose a social order failover to an ultra-liberal - at the cost of millions of jobs, abrupt social decline and significant threats to democracy itself.
At the launch of the Alter Summit, Greek unions and the committee of Greek social movements present at Florence, have expressed their hope that this summit will be held in Athens in early June 2013. “Greece was the European Laboratory for the destruction of social rights”, they said, “but it can also be the laboratory of popular resistance and reclaiming democracy. We need the support of all the peoples of Europe, since each people defending their rights contributes to social rights across Europe”.
Alternatives exist! The peoples of Europe may be free of the burden of debt; austerity must be replaced by Tax Justice and the creation of millions of jobs for ecological transition; social rights must be restored, poverty and insecurity – of which women are the primary victims – must be fought; the freedom of collective bargaining fully respected; a fairer and truly democratic society is possible now.
The shared belief is that the centralization of economic and political power (by the Commission, the Central Bank and the European Council) denies the real power of national mobilizations – yet it is therefore very important to build without delay, the bases of a genuine European social movement. The project is based on the development of national or regional coalitions throughout Europe, and a series of steps in the mobilization. The day of strikes and actions initiated for 14 November by trade unions in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Malta and Cyprus, and supported by the ETUC (list of actions: www.etuc.org/a/10446) and unions and social movements in many countries, is obviously the first concrete realization of this progressive mobilization that member organizations of the Alter Summit initiative are calling for. This is a historic event, the first transnational strike in European history! The “Spring Summit” of March 2013, in which the EU will define its political priorities for the year will be the opportunity for significant protests, whether in Brussels or across Europe. Many other actions are planned (see in particular the final declaration of Florence 10+10 below as well as at: www.firenze1010.eu).
The many organizations involved will take until mid-December to confirm and clarify their major programme of mobilizations, converging towards the Alter Summit in early June.
Contact and further information:
* Alter Summit: Summit of peoples and alternatives. Building a social movement for a social, ecological and democratic Europe.