Left Manifestos for Europe: Diem25 – Democracy in Europe Movement 2025, Yanis Varoufakis and Transforming the EU.
The Observing Greece site has performed a service to the left by providing links to the following Manifestos on Europe.
New Manifestos For Europe!
“Our Manifesto for Europe” by Thomas Piketty and 14 others.
“A Europe that works” by the ALDE party.
“We are Europe” by Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Ulrich Beck.
“A Plan B in Europe” by Jean-Luc Mélenchon and others.
“European Solidarity Manifesto” by european-solidarity.eu.
Last October (2015) Yanis Varoufakis announced plans to draw up this Manifesto.
So would Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party be welcome to join your movement?
YV: Absolutely. But you see it is important to make this point. This is not going to be a coalition of parties. It should be a coalition of citizens. They can belong to any party they want. This will not admit parties into it. It is not a party and it is not an alliance of parties. The idea is to create a grassroots movement across Europe of European citizens interested in democratising Europe. They can belong to any party. Of course they will be involved in other campaigns in their local communities, in their member states, in their nations. Maybe you will have people from different parties from the same country. I can easily imagine that, and actually I would like that. Because if the idea is not to replicate national politics, why can’t you have that? But personally, I count a lot on the Corbynites.
AS: Are you drawing up a manifesto?
YV: Yes. This is what we’re working on.
AS: Who’s writing it?
YV: I’m not going to give you names, and we will not sign it when we launch it. It will be a free floating text.
AS: Can you give us an estimated release date?
YV: It will be before Christmas.
AS: In the UK we are facing this referendum on whether we should leave or whether we should stay. openDemocracy has been discussing how this will be framed in the media and we think it may come down to something like this: “do we love business more than we hate immigrants, or do we hate immigrants more than we love business?”
YV: That’s an interesting way of putting it.
AS: Owen Jones is calling for what he calls Lexit – a left-wing exit from the EU. What would you say to someone like him who would support everything you say about Europe and democracy, but still wants to leave the EU?
YV: Well, I’m facing this kind of argument in my country with former comrades of mine in the government who left and formed the Popular Unity Party, who are saying exactly the same thing. We can’t have a genuine conversation with the Eurogroup, so exit is the only solution.
My argument is that there are no easy solutions. I wish that we could create an alternative universe in which it would be possible to have a degree of autonomy, autarky, that allows you to clean out the Augean stables. You can’t. The idea that we will go back to an agricultural pastoral life is absurd. Today, even combine harvesters are governed by electronics that our countries do not necessarily produce.
You cannot step back from the globalised market and especially from the Europeanised market. So if you exit without having any capacity to participate in the democratisation of that market, then you will always be subject to a market that is run by technocrats and you will have even less degrees of freedom than you have now.
I think it’s very important not to fall into the nationalist trap of thinking that you can recoil back into the nation-state cocoon. That doesn’t mean that we should go along with Brussels. I’m not in favour of staying within the EU and playing ball. I think I have proven this beyond any reasonable doubt. I believe in staying in to subvert the rules. Even to go into a campaign of civil disobedience within. That for me is the left wing strategy. Not “Lexit”.I’m not in favour of staying within the EU and playing ball. I think I have proven this beyond any reasonable doubt.
Owen Jones has taken this argument on board.
He now says, (Guardian 7th of January).
With Cameron in retreat, Labour can unite behind “in” while calling for a different EU. That means making it more democratic, more transparent and, above all, challenging how it is all too often hardwired to support unaccountable corporate interests rather than working people. There will be differences in emphasis in how this is achieved. For those on Labour’s left, there are two European initiatives that must surely be engaged with. One has been set up by Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek finance minister. In February, he will launch the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25), with the aim of democratising unaccountable EU institutions. Another is Plan B, set up by leftwingers such as Germany’s Oskar Lafontaine and France’s Jean Luc Mélenchon, which aims to coordinate European politicians, intellectuals, activists and NGOs with regular summits to chart a different way forward.
For too long, European movements aspiring to redistribute wealth and power have been fragmented, lacking in solidarity and coordination. Nobody believes that the EU – which has imposed calamitous economic policies throughout the eurozone – can be changed one country at a time. Syriza suffered a punishment beating for attempting to challenge EU austerity, largely because of the EU establishment’s fear that otherwise similar movements would follow its example. But Greece represents a tiny proportion of the EU economy, and was thus expendable. Before Christmas we saw the dramatic success of Podemos in Spain, which won a fifth of the vote after less than two years of existence and which is poised for further gains. A rightwing government has been deposed in Portugal, admittedly by a precarious leftwing coalition. There is a glimmer of hope for change in Europe.
You can get Varoufakis’s latest views (in German) here: Der Weltveränderer: Was Varoufakis wirklich will (24th January).
The Manifesto document is headed: To Democratise Europe or Abolish the EU.
Its central calls are,
- To democratise the European Union.
- To end the reduction of all political relations into relations of power masquarding as merely technical decisions.
- To subject the Brussels bureaucracy to the will of sovereign European peoples.
- To re-politicise the rules that govern our single market.
- To restore sovereignty to our Town Halls and Parliaments.
Standing together for a Europe of Reason, Liberty, Tolerance and Imagination, made possible by comprehensive Transparency, real Solidarity and authentic Democracy, the manifesto calls for a social, democratic, decentralised, pluralist and united Europe.
kleingut notes that the clearest demands are these:
Within 6 months: full transparency in EU decision-making (live-streaming of all important meetings, publication of ECB minutes of important sessions, publication of all important documents such as the TTIP negotiations, etc.).
Within 12 months: address the economic crisis. DiEM 2025 will present detailed policy proposals in the four realms where the crisis is housed: public debt, banking, inadequate investment and rising poverty. The policy proposals will “Europeanize all four while returning power to national parliaments, to regional councils, to city halls and to communities.”
Within 2 years: formation of a Constitutional Assembly comprised of representatives elected on trans-national tickets. The Constitutional Assembly will be empowered to decide upon a future democratic constitution that will replace all existing European Treaties.
Thereafter: enactment of decisions of the Constitutional Assembly.
These proposals are, as they say, “courageous”.
Keleingut notes the lyrical prose of the Manifesto.
Indeed: I have edited the references to the text, to avoid burdening the reader with too many adjectives about what kind of Europe should be built.
But better the sentence, “We join in the magnificent tradition of fellow Europeans who have struggled for centuries against the wisdom that democracy is a luxury and the weak must suffer what they must.” than the mean-spirited phrase-mongering of the ‘Brexit’ crew, ‘left’ and right.
A key theme of the document is the need to avoid the violation of democratic decisions by the European Union – a very clear reference to the austerity imposed against the will of the Greek electorate.
Observing Greece adds this comment,
I think there will be a significant correlation between Varoufakis followers and personal IQ. Young students with socially-romantic dreams will fall for him, no questions asked. I think there will also be a strong correlation between Varoufakis followers and lack of practical experience in the real world. And, of course, all dreamers of a leftist victory over cold-blooded neoliberals will be among Varoufakis’ passionate followers regardless of age, IQ or work experience.
I think the big question is whether Varoufakis will succeed in lighting a fire relatively soon. A fire among his followers, within the media, within the public discourse etc. If he does not succeed with that, his movement will wither away relatively quickly. As a new Finance Minister, Varoufakis succeeded in lighting a fire throughout Europe literally from one week to the next (until he blew a fuse). We will soon know if he manages to accomplish the same feat also as a former Finance Minister.
As a pro-European democratic socialist, a supporter of a “European Social Republic”, who will be voting to remain in the EU, I can only wish Diem25 – Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (Facebook) well.
As even the the hard-bitten Tendance supporters say, “On s’engage, et puis on voit”, You commit yourself, then you see….
More: Yanis Varoufakis. On Podemos, Greece, and DiEM – Interview in El Mundo. Varoufakis Blog. January the 24th.
Yanis Varoufakis: we need a new movement for democracy in Europe
… instead of going from the nation-state level to the European level, we thought we should do it the other way around; that we should build a cross-border pan-European movement, hold a conversation in that space to identify common policies to tackle common problems, and once we have a consensus on common Europe-wide strategies, this consensus can find expression of that at the nation-state and regional and municipal levels. So we are reversing the process, starting at the European level to try to find consensus and then moving downwards. This will be our modus operandi.