Blockupy goes parliament

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On Wednesday the 4th March, a delegation of the Blockupy International coordination was invited in the plenary of the European Left in the European Parliament. The main task was to present the transnational mobilization towards Frankfurt on the March 18th. The further goal of this meet-up and several working group meetings is to mobilize members of European Parliament to Frankfurt and to organize the practical coordination during the day. The presence of Members of the European Parliament in Frankfurt can open the path for abandoning the division between parties of the Left and the social movements. It can be far more that just an act of solidarity.

The president of GUE/NGL Gabi Zimmer (Die Linke, Germany) welcomed and introduced the delegation. The first intervention came from Eleonora Forenza, Italian MEP, who cooperates closely with social movements in Italy and co-organized the invitation of Blockupy. She pointed out that the European character of the mobilization is an important chance to deepen the exchange between parties and social movements.

Then the floor was open for the invited activists from Blockupy International. John Malamatinas presented shortly the Blockupy process, both locally in Germany and its transnational dimension, and the plans for the 18th of March. He insisted on the importance to come to Frankfurt in this critical situation in Europe: “We have to go to Frankfurt to show that there is an alternative to the crisis regime, that we can bring all our struggles together. It is clear that our time to act has come”. Luca Casarini (SEL) as second speaker of the Blockupy delegation was focused on the political dimensions and perspectives. The protests of March 18 can be only the beginning of a constituent process from below. One important topic after the March 18th will be the discussion on the realization of a big European conference on debt. But it is not only important that “economists, politicians, academics come together, but especially the social groups that are affected by the relation of debt”.

After the introduction speeches there was a series of interventions by different parliamentarians. Dimitri Papadimoulis from Syriza said Blockupy was “an interesting experiment which Syriza of course supports”. The success of the day depends not only on the practical issues, but especially on the fact to develop also through Frankfurt “a collective answer to the TINA (There Is No Alternative) doctrine”. Helmut Scholz (Die Linke) asked if there were concrete proposals on how to transform the ECB. In the current situation, it would be important to bring up alternative proposals about the democratic control of the ECB and the banking sector. Marisa Matias (Bloco de Esquerda, Portugal) and Pablo Iglesias from Podemos among others raised the importance of social movements in this critical situation.

In general everybody embraced Blockupy and agreed that social movements and parliamentarians had to fight together for common goals. John and Luca closed the discussion with the statement: “Party members should not only come to Frankfurt to show their solidarity, but also participate in the discussions and make concrete proposals on how to deal with the ECB and the European crisis regime.”

The session ended with a group photo in the plenary room, with all participants holding small posters with slogans like “Solidarity”, “Resistance” or “Our time to act has come” followed by the hashtag #blockupy. Several MEPs assured in private conversation that they will try to come to Frankfurt and also try to convince other local parliamentarians from their countries.