10-11.30: Opening session: The current crisis – meeting the challenge
Chair: Jeremy Corbyn MP
Speakers: Pierre Laurent, President, European Left Party; Sevim Dagdelen MP, DieLinke, Germany; Bob Crow, General Secretary, RMT; Billy Hayes, General Secretary, CWU; Sonia Mitralia, CADTM, Greece; Professor Walter Baier, Vienna, Austria; Annick Coupe, Solidaires, France; Piero Bernocchi, COBAS, Italy; Lee Jasper, BARAC, UK
Presenting the G20 Mobilisation: Sophie Zafari (France)
11.40-1pm: Parallel sessions:
The Eurocrisis Debate – causes and solutions from a progressive perspective (Main Hall, Camden Centre)
Speakers: Elisabeth Gauthier (Transform, France), Professor Costas Lapavitsas (SOAS, UK), Professor Michel Husson (IRES, France), Steffen Stierle (AttacGermany) Facilitator: Hugo Braun (AttacGermany) This session debates the causes of the Eurocrisis and opens up perspectives for our movement to counter the crisis. With respect to the causes, we argue along three lines:
- state indebtedness as a consequence of the 2008 financial and economic crisis and a lack of fiscal policy coordination
- macroeconomic imbalances in the Eurozone
- speculative attacks on financial markets
We suggest concrete policies measures in order to tackle the causes and problems named above:
- a fiscal union with higher taxes on corporations and property
- closer macroeconomic cooperation including also the punishment of surplus countries like Germany
- an effective regulation of financial market
Education – No Europe for the Young (School Hall one)
Speakers: Xavier Diez, Deputy Spokesperson of the Unió Sindical de Treballadors de l’Ensenyament de Catalunya (USTEC-STES, Union of Education Workers of Catalonia). A primary school teacher from 1988 to 2006, he is now Professor of Contemporary History at the Universitat Ramon Llull of Barcelona. Author of works on the history of culture and 20th century Spanish social movements, he also writes regularly in the Catalan press.
Professor Ken Jones, Department of Educational Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London
Elettra Anghelinas, COBAS – Italian Teachers’ Union
Professor Pat Ainley, Department of Educational Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London
Themis Kotsifakis, General Secretary of OLME, the Greek secondary teachers’ union
Chair: Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary, NUT
Uniting the Resistance: building for the 30th November (School Hall two)
Speakers: Alex Kenny (NUT), Paul Mackney (CoR), Paul Brandon (Right to Work) and speakers from the People’s Charter and UK Uncut.
This session will discuss and plan for the biggest possible mobilisation for the protest on 30th November in defence of public sector pensions.
Disability: impact of the cuts (School canteen)
Speakers: Sean Mc Govern (TUC Disabled Members’ Council); Roger Lewis (Disabled People Against Cuts)
Chair: Richard Farnos (Disability Advice Service Lambeth)
This workshop is focusing on the impact of cuts, both in terms of services and benefits, on the lives of the various disabled groups and their organisations, particularly the voluntary sector. We are also keen to examine how the disabled community can fight back, particularly joint actions with the national anti-cuts groups such as CoR. The changes to the benefits system, currently going through parliament in the form of the Welfare Reform Act, will be a central part of this.
The new rise of racism, Islamophobia and the far right (Class Room one)
Speakers: Mohammed Kozbar (British Muslim Initiative, UK); Sabby Dhalu (One Society Many Cultures, UK), Weyman Bennett (Unite against Fascism, UK)
Chair: Sanum Ghaffoor (Blogger and videomaker)
This year has seen a terrible racist massacre in Norway, Angela Merkel declare multiculturalism has failed, Cameron announce that ‘muscular liberalism’ involves war on moderate Islam, Sarkozy confine women who wear the burqa to their homes and now ban prayer on the streets, in Belgium it is proposed to outlaw both halal and kosher butchery in addition to the ban on the veil. This wave of Islamophobia and racism and the rejection of diversity from the political mainstream both scapegoats minority communities in a time of economic crisis and is leading to a rise in support for far right extremism. The left must defend the liberal principles of the right to freedom of conscience, faith and culture and oppose racism in all its forms, especially in times of economic crisis, or the only beneficiaries of failure will be the neo-fascists across Europe.
Taxation and Tax Harmonisation in Europe (Class Room two)
Organized by: Joint Social Conference (Franco Carminati) – Chair
Speakers: PCS (UK; to be confirmed); Louis Adam (France); Franco Carminati (Attac – Belgium),
Just taxation is an important alternative to the planned austerity and cuts. Just taxation is an essential tool for public services and wealth redistribution. Examples will be given from UK, France and Belgium. Alternatives will be explored and proposals made in order to mobilize for actions.
1.10-2.20: Parallel sessions:
Keep our Health Services Public (School Hall one)
Speakers: John Lister (KONP and Health Emergency), Zbigniew Zdonek (doctor and campaigner gainst privatisation of hospitals, Poland), Vladimir Nieddu, (SUD Sante union, France)
Chair: Bronwen Handyside (KONP)
Across Europe, free health services accessible to all are under attack. From Britain to Poland, it is being starved of funds and gradually handed over to the private insurance companies. The experience of theUSAis a warning: it is the most expensive system and with the highest mortality rate of the developed countries, and 45 million US citizens are without health insurance cover. The workshop will be an opportunity for health campaigners and trade-unionists to plan how to defend one of the most important post-war gains.
Youth and Students fighting for a future (School Hall two)
Speakers: Sisko (school student from Courbevoie, near Paris), João Camargo (Precários Inflexíveis, the activist network against precarity in Portugal), Mark Bergfeld (NUS Exec, UK), Sean Rillo Raczka (ULU)
Chair: Jean-Baptiste Tondu (NPA, France)
Youth and Students are seeing their future stolen from them. The crisis has sent the unemployment rate for the under 25 shooting up. In Britainit is 20% and 40% in Spain and Greece. The prospect of university education is in Britainis being closed off with annual fees of £9,000 leading to graduates leaving with a £50,000 debt. That’s why youth and students are now indignant and revolting. This workshop will hear of experiences of fighting back around Europe.
The cost of war: imperialism and recession (School canteen)
Speakers include: Sevim Dagdelen MP (Die Linke, Germany), Fiona Edwards (Student CND, UK), Chris Nineham, (Stop the War Coalition,UK)
Chair: Sam Fairbairn (Stop the War Coalition, UK)
Ten years on from the declaration of the war on terror, the world is a more dangerous and unstable place. The wars of the last decade have been financed by borrowing whilst their cost has risen exponentially. Economic crisis exacerbates the tensions of war. Imperialism and neo-liberalism march hand in hand. This workshop discusses the costs of war, and asks why governments are talking about cutting welfare but do nothing to cut back on warfare.
Economic governance and the crisis of democracy at EU level (Class Room one)
Organized by: European Left Party and the Joint Social Conference (Franco Carminati) – Chair
Speakers: Marisa Matias MEP (European Left Party), Kenneth Haar (Corporate Europe Observatory)
The recent progress in “economic governance” (Pact for the Euro, European semester, “six pack”) is a new and important step into imposing neoliberal ways. These measures will be explained, as well as what it means in terms of democracy. Political balance will be explained. We will discuss the lessons out of this development and what to do about it.
LGBTQ resistance against Austerity (Class Room two)
Speakers include: Richard Farmos (QUAC, UK)
Mobilising against austerity (Main Hall, Camden Centre)
Speakers: Michelle Stanistreet (General Secretary NUJ), John Rees, (Coalition of Resistance, UK) strikers from Le Havre, France, Igor Urrutikoetxea (Basque trade union, LAB), and representatives from other strikes
Chair: Fred Leplat (Coalition of Resistance,UK)
Austerity plans are similar in every country: privatization, reduction of living standards, pension reforms and cuts in public services. Most people still want public services funded through progressive taxation and do not want to pay the cost of this crisis. Resistance has been ongoing in Greece,Spain and France. Now, inBritain, unions in the public sector are preparing for a one day strike on the 30th November against pension reforms. This workshop will discuss how to organise for trade union action and campaigns across society to defend our public services and for solidarity across borders against the common enemy.
One answer to the debt crisis in Europe : Citizens’ debt audit initiatives (School Hall one)
Speakers: Professor Costas Lapavitsas (Greek initiative for a debt audit), Andy Storey (Afri – Ireland), Myriam Bourgy (CADTM – Belgium)
Chair : Jonathan Stevenson (Jubilee UK)
Different initiatives are being taken in Europeby movements to face the debt crisis. Debt audit is one answer brought by the movements in the public debate. People should not pay illegitimate debt and debt audit should be use to define which debt is illegitimate and which should be paid back. This workshop will focus on two countries – Greeceand Ireland– and will give an general overview of the different debt audit initiatives in Europe.
Women, austerity and resistance (School Hall two)
Speakers: Monika Karbowska (CADTM France and Poland) on the goals and actions of the Initiative of women against the debt and austerity measures
Sonia Mitralia (CADTM, Greece) Women, debt and the austerity measures inGreece. How can we transform a tragedy into an opportunity to intervene in society and build a mass women’s movement.
Elzbieta Fornaczyk (Trade Union “August 80”) and Grazyna Durkalec (Movement of social Justice of Walbrzych) Women in the Eastern Countries defend themselves. Chair: Clare Solomon, (ULU and CoR)
Roots of the crisis (School canteen)
Speakers: Michael Burke (Socialist Economic Bulletin), James Meadway (New Economics Foundation), Professor Ursula Huws (University of Hertfordshire)
Chair: Ozlem Onaran (Westminster University)
This session discusses the orgins and dynamic of the crisis. It will include: the role of the banks, lack of regulation, excessive lending, bail-outs, etc; the drive to lower labour’s share of income, declining real incomes, the compulsion to borrow for housing, including a specific focus on the impact on women, youth and ethnic minorities from the rise in unemployment; and the investment slump as the cause of the crisis – the investment strike, why the public debt arises from that and how to break that strike.
Full rights for migrant workers and asylum seekers (Class Room one)
Speakers: London Living Wage campaign, Emre Ongun (NPA France), Dave Landau (No-one is Illegal campaign)
Chair: Jude Woodward (One Society Many Cultures, UK)
Although capital is allowed to flow freely across borders, people are not. The capitalist system through war, climate change and economic crises forces millions to be displaced every year. An elaborate system of immigration controls is set up to distinguish “economic migrants” from “refugees”. “Legal” migrant workers have less rights and are therefore more exploited. Opinion polls reveal that a majority agree that “People should be free to live and work wherever they wish, and enjoy all the same rights as all other residents”. This workshop will look at what the EU control and how to campaigning together across borders
Taking on the G20: the fight against austerity and global capital (Class Room two)
Speakers: Sophie Zafari (G20 Mobilising Committee, France), Guy Taylor(Globalise Resistance, UK), John Hillary (War on Want, UK)
3.40-5pm: Closing session:: Uniting for an alternative: the way forward for the movement (Main Hall, Camden Centre)
Chair: Kate Hudson (CoR, UK)
Marisa Matias MEP, Left Bloc, Portugal; Olivier Besancenot, NPA, France; Lindsey German, Stop the War Coalition, UK; Max Banc, Attac Germany; Elisabeth Gauthier, Transform! Europe; Len McCluskey, General Secretary, UNITE; Senator David Cullinane, Sinn Fein, Ireland; Darren Johnson AM, Green Party, UK: Themis Kotsifakis, General Secretary of OLME, Greece
Presenting the Conference Statement: Andrew Burgin (Secretary, CoR, UK)