Saturday, July 2nd at 7 p.m at the
Anti-Racist Festival in Athens, Panepistimioúpoli (University Campus), Zografou, Athens
A discussion with inputs by: Nicolas Galepides (Solidaire, France), Giorgio Grappi (precarious (dis) connection, Italy), Corinna Genschel (Blockupy Germany), Loukia Kotronaki (DIktyo, Greece)
„There is no such thing as a single issue struggle, because we don’t live single issue lives.“
After the long summer of resistance against the ruling order- that became most clearly visible in the Greek OXI and slightly different in the movement of migration – many things have changed all over Europe. Social struggles have somewhat intensified, movements are gaining strength, however, significantly also or especially those of the right.
On the one hand, the physical and subjective movement of thousands of migrants was able to defy the external and internal boundaries and a regime of control of the European Union, a movement that simultaneously lead also to a broad movement of solidarity (e.g. so called “welcome initiatives” and many more solidarity practices). However, this period was followed by a reaction by national governments that aim for the restauration of a “caged continent”. It seems that the ruling elites have taken advantage of these instances of crises to strengthen once more the neoliberal construction of the European Union. Consequently, new walls and fences – externally and internally – are (re) build and seem to be stronger than ever. It is clear, the infamous “EU – Turkey deal” as well as new national detention and deportation laws and practices re-erect rigid border controls and strengthen “national ideas” of control. Furthermore, “internally” we witness the effects of years of an austerity crisis regime that fueled the growth of reactionary forces, nationalist and racist. The so-called normalization of austerity in and of societal relations opened the gates to the rise of a right-wing upsurge. On the other hand, the struggles against the normalization of the precarity of our lives in all forms has not stopped and is taking place – in different and uneven forms – across Europe. Right now, the broad and strong social mobilization in France against the „reform“ of the labor market – with strikes, blockades and the re- appropriation of public spaces (as #NuitDebout) – is sparking hope again. It demonstrates the significance of converging struggles by different social subjects.
Blockupy emerged as a coalition of social movements, unions and parties in 2012 around radical protests and acts of civil disobedience in the financial district of Frankfurt against austerity policies and the hegemonic role played by the European Central Bank. The mobilization continued through the next years, culminating in a
European day of action on March 18 in 2015. However, the events of and against the Greek rebellion of Greek last summer proved also that the European resistance by many different forces was not enough, not strong enough – and it clearly showed once more: there is no way to resist the constraints of the neoliberal model by a single nation state/force. It is only the combination of local + territorial struggles with transnational mobilizations of power that can change the current power relations.
Yet, the current constellation of forces can also mean to think through transnational mobilization on different levels: While some moments call for direct and concrete transnational, European wide, international mobilizations, other moments call for building territorial bases – albeit within a clearly marked European dimension. Thus, against the background of a new (e.g. right wing) political constellation (not only in Germany) Blockupy (Germany) will focus in these next months on mobilizing in Germany against right wing forces and against the social (austerity) policies that pushed these forces in the open (it will be a large demonstration and protest activities in early September in Berlin against the right wing and against its neoliberal, racist context). It might be territorial in its scope for now; however, Blockupy will bring the European dimension into the mobilization and understands it as elements of European struggles. In addition, Blockupy will call for a transnational summit of the European youth, the precarious, the worker, student, migrant etc. – inviting everybody from all over Europe to Berlin in spring and to a campaign against the upcoming G-20 summit in Hamburg in summer 2017.
Let’s see these moments as various opportunities to link different social struggles on a transnational level, to build up together solidarity – for a democracy in Europe without borders from below, against the normalization of austerity policies and precarity, against border regime and management of mobility, against any form of nationalistic split.
In the light of that, we propose a common discussion – in the frame of Anti-Racist Festival in Athens – on the present situation in Europe and the possibilities to develop transnational social movements. From France to Germany, via Greece and Italy and vice versa. With speakers from different French (Solidaire), Italian (precarious (dis) connection), Greek (Diktyo) and German (Blockupy) movements we want to discuss the social and political situation we are finding ourselves in. How do we understand these last 12 months – in the struggles and defeat against austerity, in the new forms of struggles, in the movement of migration and the dynamic of solidarity from below etc. – and what are the consequences? What are the real possibilities to create connections between struggles against austerity and precarity on the one hand and struggles for the freedom of movement, for solidarity and against the border regime on the other hand? What could be effective opportunities to build new social alliances and form of convergence of different struggles on a transnational level?