On 28 and 29 February, a delegation of more than 20 representatives visited Athens to meet with Greek social movements, political groups, unions, media, community organisations and parliamentary representatives. The delegation came from Germany (ATTAC, Rosa Luxembourg Foundation, Occupy), France (Solidaires, FSU, ATTAC, Transform, AITEC, CADTM), Austria (ATTAC), Basque (ELA, ESK), Italy (Social Centre, ARCI), Belgium (CNE-CSC), UK (Red Pepper), Asia (Focus on the Global South)
From the delegation viewpoint, the main points we learned from our interlocutors were:
- The Greek people are paying an incredible price for the Troika-imposed austerity programmes: massive reduction of pensions and minimum wages, destruction of jobs, public services and public housing, homelessness and even hunger, and the situation is deteriorating day after day. Greece is much more than a ‘special case’ for national and EU-rulers but their attempt starting a new stage of neoliberal society transformation in Europe.
- The main demand from all the Greek forces is to build with the European and International social movements, a response and a mobilisation against the austerity measures and the Troika plan. They all say that they don’t need “charity” but common actions.
- All the forces insisted on the fact that the popular rejection of the Troika plans is much bigger now than before; at the beginning part of the population thought that the austerity measures were tough but necessary. Now everyone knows that the plan will not work and that its real purpose is to win time in order to build a firewall to avoid the collapse of the European banking system in case of a Greek default and to blackmail other European citizens to accept austerity plans to avoid “finishing like the Greeks”.
- Democracy is the main issue for all the groups we met; the Troika imposes, the political elite in Greece agrees and the people suffer. The defence of democracy should be a common issue for all the European peoples!
Exchanging with the Greek movements and among the different national delegations, it’s clear that we have to build an agenda of mobilisations at national level in all countries and at international level. At the same time, we need to rebuild from below a common European space to strengthen our resistances and our alternatives for a democratic Europe.
Several events and mobilisations are already planned by some European networks that could be important steps to achieve these two objectives. Some key dates are:
– March 29 and 30: Joint Social Conference in Brussels,
– April 7: European Debt’s Audit meeting in Brussels,
– May 12: Call of the “Indignados” and “Occupy” for a “Global Day of Action”
– May 17-19: Mass mobilisation against the policies of the European Central bank in Frankfurt,
Those appointments are already planed and four new ideas emerged in Athens:
- To launch an European campaign to support the Irish people who will vote in a referendum on the European new treaty, from where a positive signal could emerge against the global course of strangulating especially small countries at the European periphery,
- To ask to our Greek friends to look at the possibility of organising a European and international initiative in Greece in order to built concrete solidarity between the Greek social movements and the rest of the world,
- To support the venue of Greek activists to other countries in order to speak about the situation in their country,
The Italian groups proposed the possibility of a European Seminar, organised in Milan on 4-6 of May by the Italian Network of WSF as a contribution for the rebuilding from below of a common space, can be used to deepen these discussions and planning.