Europe against Austerity Action Conference Statement and Report

Europe is plunging deeper and deeper into crisis. Its governments are continuing with their failed austerity policies in spite of the ever-increasing struggles of the peoples of Europe in defence of the social and economic gains that they have made over many decades. The economic crisis has increasingly become a social and political crisis as people face poverty, hunger and even death, as a result of the catastrophic and government-imposed failure of health systems and social services. The far right is attempting to profit politically from the suffering inflicted on working people and vulnerable groups are being targeted together with those most militant in their opposition to the re-emergence of fascism.

Across Europe we are seeing escalating opposition and resistance to austerity: in Greece, in Spain and in Portugal, we have seen huge mobilisations, and in some areas an increase in the unity on the left so desperately needed. Yesterday in London, we saw a vast demonstration, led by the trade unions, and drawing together people from all walks of life in opposition to the savage and unnecessary cuts to public spending. There can be no mistaking that this class war against working people must be opposed even more strenuously.

At this conference today we commit ourselves to continuing to develop and consolidate the ongoing cooperation between organisations fighting austerity across Europe, to stand in solidarity with those on the front line of the struggle – most notably in Greece, and to work together to strengthen the economic, social and political alternatives to neo-liberal capitalism and the austerity policies it has adopted.

We will work together in the months ahead, cooperating for the ETUC Day of Action on 14 November, moving towards the Alter Summit in 2013, and increasing our work for left and movement unity, for common action, mutual solidarity, communication and coordination.

London, 21 October 2012

Over a hundred delegates packed into the Coalition of Resistance’s conference at the Unite the Union headquarters in London on Sunday afternoon, to strengthen anti-austerity coordination across Europe.

The event followed a massive anti-cuts demonstration on Saturday 20th October, called by the British TUC. Speakers included parliamentarians Marisa Matias MEP, from Bloco de Esquerda in Portugal, Stefanos Samoilis MP, from SYRIZA in Greece, and Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MP from the UK. Other participants included trade unions from across the continent, as well as left and green parties and representatives from a wide range of social movements.

Sessions included Eurocrisis – Into the Abyss, a very informative debate on the economy including representatives from CADTM, NEF, SYRIZA and Elisabeth Gauthier from Transform and the PCF; The Shape of the Resistance, which included representatives from OLME in Greece and Front de Gauche in France, plus a lively contribution from Florian Wilde from Die Linke in Germany; No to neo-liberal education, which included representatives from teachers’ unions, the NUT, DOE and FSU; and Actions, co-operation and the timeline to Athens 2013 which addressed concrete steps in our joint work. Speakers included Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party in England and Wales and Vladimir Nieddu from SUD Sante in France. Frederic Leplat moved the conference statement on behalf of the Coalition of Resistance.

The conference expressed strong support for the ETUC Day of Action on 14thNovember and there was extensive discussion about the role of different types of action in taking the movement forward, including general strike action. Whilst Europe has seen a large number of one day general strike actions over the last year, it has not been sufficient to bring an end to austerity programmes. Britain itself has not seen a general strike since 1926 but it is now on the agenda at the highest trade union levels, including consideration by the TUC itself. Discussion also focused on the need for a clear and positive alternative to austerity and the vision of a different type of Europe, in the interests of ordinary people, which we can achieve if we work together. The importance of international solidarity was repeatedly stressed especially with regard to Greece. Delegates from Greece emphasized their urgent need for an increase in solidarity action, particularly from the trade union movement. The conference concluded by committing to working towards the Alter Summit in 2013.

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