From 2 to 5 May 2013 the first Central and Eastern European Social and Environmental Forum (CEESF) took place in Vienna, Austria. About 150 participants from 12 European countries discussed along the title “Revolts in the Periphery?” both the economic and political situation of central and eastern European countries during the current financial crisis.
We would like to draw your attention to the recent initiative by the Transnational Trade Union Rights Experts Network (TTUR) consisting of eight leading European labour law experts denouncing the systematic attacks on social dialogue and labour law provisions to which the Euro-area crisis and the austerity policies prescribed by European institutions have led in many EU countries.
Parliamentary elections in Iceland on 27 April gave a clear sign to the left wing coalition that its services were no longer required. The center Progressive Party is the winner of the elections, more than doubling its number of MPs. The right wing Independence Party survives, but their leader needs to get into government to maintain hold of party. The Left Green‘s young new leader pushed back to after disastrous polls only two weeks ago, whereas the Social Democrats plummeted to record lows. Two new parties are entering politics, the center party Bright Future, and the Icelandic Pirate Party.
Europe is under a violent attack by the financial capital, represented by the Troika (IMF, ECB, EC) and by the successive governments that apply concerted policies with these entities, despising and destroying the people. We know that this offensive is set on breaking the peoples, rendering them slaves of debt and austerity. This offensive crosses Europe and it must be defeated by an international struggle.
On 7-8 June the Alter Summit of the European peoples will be taking place at the Velodrome in Athens. An alliance of more than 150 organisations – including trade unions, social movements, NGOs and political actors – from all parts of Europe will present to the public a manifesto for the struggle for a democratic and social Europe.
As we had expected, the WSF in Tunis was a great moment of solidarity with the people of Tunisia, two years after the Tunisian uprising against Ben Ali. It was also a great time to strengthen the democratic camp in the Arabian world.
On 24 March 2013, transform! europe organised a workshop with historians who collaborate with the member foundations of the network. The central question was how to elaborate critical approaches to the public usages of history and, more particular, vis-à-vis the creation of the House of European History (HEH), established by the European Parliament in 2009 with the explicit aim to constitute a public European identity.
The Party of the European Left organized a mapping of the social situation in various countries of member parties. In April it was Hungary – one of the so called post-communist countries. The author, living in Prague, took the opportunity to compare the Hungarian reality with the situation in the Czech Republic.
This second international conference of Tranform!Danmark – the first one has been organized a year ago – confirmed that it was a right choice to promote a debate on alternatives to growth after the conference last year on “The Crisis in Europe – Left Alternatives.”
Cyprus is currently experiencing dramatic moments that are expected to subvert the entire network of social relations and daily life of our people. The recent agreement of the Cypriot government with Eurogroup overturns violently the main pillar of the capitalist structure; namely, the banking sector.
Over the past two months Bulgaria, the most passive country in the traditionally belligerent Balkans, has been shaken by protests. Since the beginning of February Bulgarians in most big cities have been out in the streets, protesting against the increased electricity and heating bills. After a few nights of clashes between police and protesters, the government of Boyko Borissov and his party GERB resigned.
In serious political discourse the idea of a united Europe can be taken for granted. At the same time the distance felt to “Brussels” is growing. A contradiction? What has remained of the promise of Europe? Who has benefited from the integration processes – and on whose costs and in whose interest? How can we explain the increasing authoritarian tendencies leading to the concentration of economical power in the hands of a few big multinational corporations? What role do the national interests play in the European decision-making process – and what could be alternatives, including their practical feasibility and enforceability?
The conference taking place in Lisbon from 24 to 26 October 2013, is organised by Instituto de História Contemporânea da Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Cul:tra, transform! europe and Unipop. The deadline for proposals (CfP) has been extended to 30 April.
We publish here the declaration of the Social Movements Assembly of the recent World Social Forum in Tunisia.
"We are gathered here to affirm the fundamental contribution of peoples of Maghreb-Mashrek (from North Africa to the Middle East), in the construction of human civilization. We affirm that decolonization for oppressed peoples remains for us, the social movements of the world, a challenge of the greatest importance.
The Slovenian academic publishing house Sophia (soon to be called Naprej! [‘Forward!’], after the Slovenian publishing house that first translated the Communist Manifesto in 1908) published a new, third Slovenian edition of Marx's Capital, Vol. I. On this occasion, there has been organised a colloquium on the relevance of Marx's Capital and socialist politics.
The sociologist has passed away at the age of seventy-nine. He was Director of Studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and author of the Metamorphoses of the social question marked sociology.
Gathered in Brussels on 15 and 16 March, the members of the Alter Summit network unifying social movements, trade unions and NGOs have taken an important step forward in their attempt to create a European social movement. Eleven weeks from now, all those in favor of a democratic, social, ecological and feminist Europe will have their eyes on Athens, where numerous events are scheduled to take place on 7 and 8 June.