To create a cooperation of peace-loving European organisations and individuals, capable of considering war, any war, as unjustifiable, this was the aim of those who gathered on Sunday 3 April in Rome, representing political powers from various countries.
The meeting was organised in just a few days but garnered a lot of attention and huge numbers attended. The main objective is to make the voices heard of those who want to build a peaceful Europe, which is not subservient to the military interests of NATO and of those who want to welcome all refugees fleeing wars, by rejecting the shameful western “double standards”. The debate took place with two panels, one reserved for the foreign guests and the other for Italian guests, and was moderated by Left editor Simona Maggiorelli. Due to unforeseen circumstances, some contributions were made via video, as was the case for Alexander Batov, a young member of the Russian Rot Front, a small left-wing organisation that shares the positions of the Russian Communist Party. After a brief analysis of the situation, Batov denounced the cynical way Putin is using the Donbass issue for his own nationalist aims. Ertugrul Kürkcü, honorary president of the HDP in Turkey, on the other hand, denounced the world’s double standards when dealing with various conflicts, calling for Erdogan not to be considered as a mediator of peace. Gaël De Santis, from the French Communist Party, emphasised the need for the world of work to rally against the war, while Michele Daniele, from the Belgian PTB, stressed the need for a European anti-war movement. Katerina Anastasiou of transform! europe gave a wide-ranging, complex and very passionate presentation. She gave an in-depth analysis of the most dramatic and long-term effects of the war, including the increase in the number of people fleeing and undergoing different treatment because of their nationality. There were then further video interventions from Spain and France that reminded everyone of the need to be united and work as a team.
During the following session, two ManifestA parliamentarians, Simona Surianoand Yana Ehm (formerly Movimento 5 Stelle), discussed what is happening in Parliament, along with Potere al Popolo members (Marta Collot and Giuliano Granato), Paolo Ferrero, vice-president of the Party of the European Left and Maurizio Acerbo, secretary of the Communist Refoundation Party. Despite their differences all of the speeches had points of view in common: the Russian invasion is unacceptable and NATO expansionism and the arms race are both conducive to conflict and a danger to peace and the survival of the planet. We need to open the door to a large peace movement, which refuses to stand on either side of the conflict. In his conclusions, Luigi De Magistris specifically spoke of a continent of the people, for the people and not for imperialist powers. The former mayor of Naples, faced with what is unfolding and the fact that representation in Parliament and the will of the people are light years apart, raised the issue of the urgent need to build a plural but united front, which would take action both against the war and against the damage it is doing to the Ukrainian, Russian and European peoples. They are the first to pay for the increase in energy prices and essential goods, not least in terms of their salaries’ loss of purchasing power.
This meeting reinforced the need to unite, to break away from the misunderstandings of the past, and make peace the priority. Peace is also at risk from a possible nuclear catastrophe, which is always overshadowed by extreme cynicism. The only real hope lies with the thousands of people who this month have filled the piazzas or who have made gestures of solidarity, by welcoming refugees and by constantly stepping up to the mark. It is those women and men who will be able to build a better future.
Originally published at pressenza.com (full version; Italian)