A Future That Works

A Future That Works
NO2aTory/Liberal coalition - Vote with your feet for an alternative to a neo-liberal economy and neo-conservative state Yes2aLeftFront and a Red/Green Left Alliance

Monday, 19 September 2011

European Conference Against Austerity & Privatisation

European Left delegation to the conference in London will compose of its President and National Secretary of the Parti Communiste Français (PCF) Pierre Laurent, Vice-President Marisa Matias (member of European Parliament of Bloco de Esquerda) and other members of the European Left Executive Board.


  1. Join the debate in the Morning Star

    EU a matter of priorities


    The EU isn't capable of progressive reform


    Sovereignty doesn't rule out solidarity


    New European left party is at best a distraction


    The European left comes to London


  2. The debate in the Morning Star started around Kate Hudson article where she says we are facing ‘‘a systemic crisis on a global scale that requires answers on a global scale’’.

    Mick Carty acting General Secretary for the Young Communist League (CPB) wrote to the Morning Stars letters editor disagreeing with her position ‘‘Kate claims that the current capitalist crises ‘are not problems that are national in the making, nor problems that can simply be blamed on the bankers.’ Yet it is national governments that have colluded with this disastrous neoliberal agenda and it is national institutions that are implementing the cuts on behalf of the EU and parasitic monopoly capital’’.

    Jimmy Jancovich wrote ‘‘I am surprised at Mick Carty's (M Star August 28) rigid and totally undialectical approach to Kate Hudson's article (The European left comes to London, M Star August 16)’’.

    John Foster says ‘‘Jimmy goes on to argue that withdrawing from the EU is unrealistic and suggests such a position would be ‘disastrous’ for the left’’ and counter argues that ‘‘withdrawal of individual states is far more "realistic" than the EU being reformed as proposed by the ELP’’.

    Jimmy Jancovich’s latest letter says ‘‘I agree in general with John Foster (The EU isn't capable of progressive reform, M Star September 12)’’. He goes on to point out that the initiative for the European Conference Against Austerity in London on 1st of October came from Pierre Laurent, National Secretary of the French Communist Party.

    Jancovich argues that the issue is not the theoretical one of reform or revolution but the practical one of judging and priorities. And that ‘‘to beat the current anti-democratic social and political programmes of the EU and the British government, at both the national and European level’’ and that withdrawal with David Cameron in office would change nothing even if achievable’’ therefore ‘‘withdrawal is a side issue part of tomorrow's agenda, not today's’’.

  3. President of the World Bank Robert Zoellick warns that the global economy is entering the ‘‘danger zone’’ and Christine Lagarde head of the IMF tells the world’s leaders to do more to prevent another lurch towards the abyss. Today we see the stock markets continue slide with the FTSE 100 index down below the 5000 mark at 4967.4 points as fears of a global recession/depression continue, after poor projections from America's central bank and manufacturing figures for China and the Eurozone increasing the call for a third package of quantitative easing.

    Plan ‘A’ or Plan ‘A+’ isn’t enough to stop the British, European or global economy from going over the edge into the vortex of a global recession/depression. What is needed is for the left parties and labour movement to lead the demand for an alternative, free market capitalism has failed. We either see a return to a neo-Keynesian form of managed welfare capitalism Plan ‘B’ extended beyond the developed nations to the developing nations as the progressive option for capitalism or further regression into the economics of the 1930’s and a rise of the far-right fascist parties.

    If the social-democratic parties fail to revive the Keynesian model of welfare capitalism and extended it to the developing world then we may truly be in the final and highest stage of capitalism as Vladimir Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg put it one hundred years ago. The future is either socialism or barbarism, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and George Osborne and the coalition government want to follow the policies followed by the British national government of the 1930’s, these would result in a long depression which it could take ten to twenty years to recover from.

    This has to be socially unacceptable to the people of Britain, Europe and Scandinavia and why the European Conference Against Austerity & Privatisation being held on 1st of October in London called by an initiative from Pierre Laurent, the national secretary of the French Communist Party should be attended by the leadership of all the left parties and major unions. The crisis of global capitalism requires an international response from our political leaders. Anything less is an abdication of their duty and of the dialectic-material reality which we face, this is where we pursue a Plan ‘B+’ which leads to Plan ‘C’ which follows a British and European road to socialism.

  4. Agenda

    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 Mitralis, CADTM, Greece; Professor Walter Baier, Vienna, Austria; Annick Coupe, Solidaires, France; Piero Bernocchi, COBAS, Italy

  5. Presenting the G20 Mobilisation: Sophie Zafari (France)

    Closing session:: Uniting for an alternative: the way forward for the movement

    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; Lee Jasper, BARAC, UK, Elisabeth Gauthier, Transform! Europe; Len McCluskey, General Secretary, UNITE; Senator David Cullinane,Sinn Fein, Ireland

    Presenting the Conference Statement: Andrew Burgin (Secretary, CoR, UK)

  6. Parallel sessions:

    The Eurocrisis – causes and solutions from a progressive perspective
    Speakers: Elisabeth Gauthier (Transform, France), Professor Costas Lapavitsas (SOAS, UK), Professor Michel Husson (IRES, France), Steffen Stierle (AttacGermany) Facilitator: Hugo Braun (AttacGermany) This session covers 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

  7. Mobilising against austerity

    Speakers: Michelle Stanistreet (General Secretary NUJ), 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 on going in Greece, Spain and France. Now, in Britain, 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.

  8. Youth and Students fighting for a future

    Speakers: Sisko (school student from Courbevoie, near Paris), João Camargo (Precários Inflexíveis, the activist network against precarity in Portugal), Mark Burgfeld (NUS Exec, UK)

    Co-chairs: Fiona Edwards (Student Broad Left, UK) and 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 Spainand 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.

  9. One answer to the debt crisis in Europe : Citizens’ debt audit initiatives
    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.

  10. Full rights for migrant workers and asylum seekers

    Speakers: London Living Wage campaign, Emre Ongun (NPA France), Dave Landau (No-one is Illegal campaign)

    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

    The new rise of racism, Islamophobia and the far right

  11. Women, austerity and resistance

    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)

  12. Roots of the crisis

    Speakers: Michael Burke (Socialist Economic Bulletin), James Meadway (New Economics Foundation), Professor Ursula Huws (Global Policy Unit)
    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.

  13. Economic governance and the crisis of democracy at EU level

    Taxation and Tax Harmonisation in Europe

    The cost of war: imperialism and recession

    Speakers include: Sevim Dagdelen MP (Die Linke, Germany), Kate Hudson (CND, UK), Chris Nineham, (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.


  14. Disability: impact of the cuts

    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.

  15. Keep our Health Services Public

    Speakers: John Lister (KONP and Health Emergency), SUD (Sante Hopitaux, France), Nurse (August 80 Free Trade Union, Poland)

    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 the USA is 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.

  16. Education – No Europe for the Young

    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 ofBarcelona. 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 TeachersUnion
    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

  17. Taking on the G20: the fight against austerity and global capital
    Speakers: Sophie Zafari (G20 Mobilising Committee, France), Guy Taylor(Globalise Resistance, UK), John Hillary (War on Want, UK)

  18. Manifesto from 15M for Europe against Austerity Conference

    It is now obvious to everyone that the current neo-liberal economic model is not sustainable, as its laws suit only a few. The fraudulent nature of the banking system, excessive risk, aggressive lending and the greed of the people controlling it, has put over the years most of world´s countries into unbearable debt.

    Corruption in the political system, over-dependent on financial backing from the banking system, has prevented governments from serving their original purpose: to rule in a way that promotes wealth distribution across society . This flawed system has led to dangerous social and economic imbalances.

    Effectively, today’s politicians behave as direct employees of bankers and multinational corporations. They often serve as public ministers only to accept a position as MD, CEO or form part of the executive boards of FTSE 100 companies once their term in government finishes.

    Millions of people all over the world live below the poverty line, do not have food, access to clean water or sanitation, and die from curable diseases. And still the human race has not faced the two main problems threatening its existence: the energy crisis, and most importantly climate change. Planet Earth has not stopped giving us, gracefully, the essentials to survive, yet we keep consuming without showing any respect for the environment that hosts us, aiming only for maximization of profits: scientists reported the melt down of ice and “open waters” on the North Pole in the next 5 years. It is time for some changes.

  19. It’s down to the broad left weather inside or out of the Labour Party in Britain to push the political agenda to the left. Build confidence and a belief in the alternative; make the neo-liberal and neo-conservative solution that favours an elite 1% and a few lucky ones further down the social pile unacceptable to the majority. This is why we need Left Unity just as Harry Pollitt and Stafford Cripps argued in the 1930’s against the National Government and for the return of a Labour Government part of a broad strategy against the Tory/Liberal Coalition Government. This is why if the broad left are serious about the fightback then tomorrows conference is where its leaders should be, if not why not?

  20. Hugo Braun European United Left/Nordic Green Left Group says ‘‘It is a matter of great urgency to bring more and new dynamics to the resistance movement against the painful austerity packages being imposed on EU countries. In this particular political field the fight has to be fought on two levels: in the streets and squares and in the parliaments.’’ The first level is priority of the Marxist parties obviously as the front line and immediate battle ground and the parliamentary fight is secondary for the Communist Party and Socialist Party, this is where the Labour Left and the Labour Representative Committee must make their mark.

    The Europe against Austerity Conference has left activists, labour union leaders and left-labour as well as communists and socialist parties from across Europe. Jeremy Corbyn is chairing the session on the current crisis. The closing session Uniting for an alternative will be chaired by Kate Hudson and Len McCluskey will be attending this session as well as Lindsey German, of Stop the War Coalition. So as Hugo Braun says ‘‘The composition of the London Europe against Austerity Conference ensures that both components will be combined in our future actions. This conference could be the initial spark and an important step for a joint campaign against the neo-liberal policies which make the rich richer and the poor poorer’’.

    This is where the broad left whether Marxist or non-Marxist will set the agenda against the neo-liberal economic and neo-conservative political solutions to the crisis of global finance capital in Britain and Europe. Ed Miliband and the Labour Party aren’t at the forefront of this battle they will follow the lead of the peoples of Britain and Europe if the communist, socialist and green parties and groups along with the labour movement provide the organization and leadership against the dictates of global finance capital through the World Bank, IMF, EU and our national governments. This is why I see Ed Miliband as not a leading factor but as representative of the weakening of the neo-liberal and neo-conservative hold on the political agenda. He isn’t Thatcher or Blair or his brother David and that’s what is positive however miniscule that may be.

  21. European Conference Declaration

    After a day of intensive debate, analysis and planning for cooperation and action, the Europe against Austerity Conference heard Coalition of Resistance Secretary Andrew Burgin propose the following Declaration, on behalf of the European Preparatory Committee. The Declaration was unanimously endorsed by the Conference which was attended by over 600 people:

    “This European conference meets not a moment too soon.

    The peoples of Europe face an unprecedented social, political and economic crisis.

    Our governments are implementing the most savage spending cuts designed to destroy all the social gains of the post-war period. These will wreck the lives of millions by devastating jobs, pay, pensions, health, education and other services.

    The world financial crisis of 2008 was transformed into a crisis of state debt – nation states bailed out the financial system, but in doing so seriously weakened their own balance sheets. Greece stands on the verge of default and other states will not be far behind.

    The only solution offered by the ruling elite is austerity for the great majority and bailouts for the banks and the wider financial system.
    While ordinary people face great hardship, trillions of Euros are being poured into the pockets of the rich. There has never been a greater disparity of wealth between capital and labour – between rich and poor.

    Throughout Europe people are fighting back. They are determined to defend their societies and to overturn the barbarism of austerity. Our aim is to help unite these struggles. We need a common European front to defend the peoples of Europe. We are committed to opposing all cuts, privatization and attacks on the welfare state and to build solidarity with resistance to these attacks.

    Thus we support resistance by the trades unions through strikes and other forms of industrial action. We say no to imperialist wars and their endless drain on resources and say yes to welfare, peace and justice.

    We oppose the scapegoating of immigrant communities for the economic crisis and the stirring up of racism and islamophobia which divides and weakens our resistance. We will campaign against the rise of the far-right which seeks to do this.

    The way forward relies both on resistance and the elaboration and promotion of an alternative economic strategy: the banks must be placed under democratic control. Private banks must be socialized and the financial markets regulated. The European Union and national governments must meet the needs of people – not impose austerity programmes. Taxes raised for the rich and corporations. Illegitimate debt must be renounced. The creditors must be held responsible. We won’t pay for their crisis!

    An alternative economic and political strategy would support welfare, develop homes, schools, and hospitals, protect pensions and foster a green approach to public spending – investing in renewable energy and public transport, thereby creating millions of new jobs.

    This conference resolves to build on the links developed in preparing this conference and to establish an ongoing European co-ordination to organise and support resistance to austerity.

    We pledge to support the mobilisations of the Indignados on October 15, actions against debt and International Financial Institutions from 8th to 16th October and the G20 in Nice in November. We also pledge to work towards a common day of action against austerity in 2012 and call on the trade union movement across Europe to prepare a day of industrial action against austerity.”

  22. The fightback against the austerity packages across the countries of Europe and in Britain is starting to build up and the European Conference Against Austerity, Privatisation and in defence of the Welfare State on Saturday the 1st of October brought together representatives from almost every European country. What we are witnessing isn’t a return to the 1980’s but an attempt by the Tory/Liberal coalition government, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund to reassert capitalist class power in the manner of the 1930’s and if that requires the recession becoming a depression even greater than that of the 1930’s that’s what the leaders of global, European and the British and other national governments will oversee to put the working classes back in what they see as our rightful place. Will the British Left parties be engaging in the class struggle in the way the Communist Party did in the 1930’s? Andy Bain, Steve Johnson and Andy Chaffer were of the Communist Party of Britain were at the conference called by Pierre Laurent National Secretary of the French Communist Party and President of the European Left Group and the CPB has representatives sitting on the national council and steering group of Coalition of Resistance which all British Left parties should be involved in. This is a real opportunity for the Left and the people of Britain to draw a line on the neo-liberal and neo-conservative project and defend the gains made by communists, socialists and social-democrats over the 20th century.


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