A United, Democratized Europe Is Our Only Weapon Against A Dark Continent

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A United, Democratized Europe Is Our Only Weapon Against A Dark Continent

Following the Berlin Launch of DiEM25, eleven representatives of the GREENS (including two Members of the European Parliament) sent DiEM25 an Open Letter welcoming its 'birth' and urging us to unite in the fight for a Democratic, Sustainable, Humanist, Open Europe. Here is Yanis Varoufakis' reply to their Open Letter (which you can download here or here in pdf):

Dear Young European Greens,

Dear Florent, Julien, Karima, Michel, Rui , Vedran, Adam, Laura, Teo, Zakia, Patrick,

You are right: Dreaming of a united, democratized Europe is our only weapon against a divided, authoritarian, potentially Dark Continent.

Our common dream is the only antidote to the common nightmare already in the works. But to become an effective antidote we need to join forces.

We need to overcome the usual tendency of progressives to fall prey to the sirens of discord.

We need a broad coalition of European Democrats from across the Left, Green, Liberal and Progressive Conservative divides.

As Brian Eno put it in DiEM's Berlin Launch, Democrats are people who know that they do not possess the answers but who, at the same time, remain convinced that, together, it is possible to come up with good answers, helpful actions, and sensible policies.

Your open letter, to those of us who initiated DiEM25, is a source of great hope that our utopian dream is not only the sole alternative to a frightful dystopia but also that it is a pragmatic project. The fact that you were with us at DiEM25's Berlin Launch (some physically, others in spirit) makes DiEM25 your movement, your infrastructure. Together with the many others from different movements, organizations and political parties who have also joined DiEM25, you, we, others who will join in soon, have the opportunity to start building up our Conversation, to organize our Assemblies, to plan out Actions, to work towards the New Consensus that Europe needs to arrest the process threatening to deconstruct its institutions, dissolve its integrity, and lose its soul.

You bring to DiEM25 something invaluable: the voice of the younger members of the Green Movement.

Truth be told, some of us older members of the Left, of Social Democracy, of the Trade Unions, of the Liberal Democratic tradition, have in the past paid insufficient attention to the corrosive effect on our very thinking of the growth-at-all-cost mentality. Since then, we have grasped the extent of our planet's stress (at the hands of a humanity driven by myopic private profit maximization -- or capital accumulation as we Leftists prefer to call it) and the simple truth that social justice can never prevail if human society continues obliviously to undermine its environment. Still, even though we have woken up to this reality, we need you, Europe's Young Greens to keep us alive to the centrality of the environmental agenda in forging the mind set necessary to back any progressive project.

Let me now turn to practical matters -- to how we propose to turn DiEM25 from an intention to a genuine movement. To make DiEM25 our common infrastructure, our joint movement, we need to energize millions of Europeans around six common threats and challenges that demand common European solutions:

DiEM25's Six Campaigns, Six Assemblies, Six Policy Papers

To develop DiEM25 as a grassroots movement we must engage members in a continual dialogue on the following six discursive 'battlegrounds':

  1. Transparency Now! -- DiEM25's first campaign will aim at demanding that all EU-level decision-making be exposed to European citizens' gaze. We shall demand that meetings of the European Council, ECOFIN, Eurogroup, FTT, ESM etc. become accessible to Europeans. Additionally, we plan to expose the opacity of decision-making processes that have a capacity to ban democracy for a very, very long time (e.g. the current TTiP negotiations)
  2. Imagining A Democratic European Union Constitution -- and the process leading to the CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY that will bring it about
  3. Open Europe: Refugees, Migration and Solidarity With 'Others'
  4. Labour, Its Value and The Distribution Of Income In Europe's Societies
  5. The European Green New Deal And Europe's Money -- Financing the Green Transition while dealing effectively with DEBT, BANKING CRISES, INSUFFICIENT INVESTMENT, INTRA-EUROPEAN IMBALANCES & POVERTY ALLEVIATION. Plus, integration of monetary policy across the Eurozone-nonEurozone divide, DiEM's strategy against the establishment's violent backlash (including threats of shutting down the banking system of any member-state that adopts DiEM's policies), a policy on parallel payment systems as well as parallel currencies, a broader perspective on how to organize the global monetary system (of which Europe is the largest economy)
  6. Green Transition and Technological Sovereignty-- What should Europe be investing in? And how can Europe avoid becoming hostage to the technological choices made by multinational giants for multinational giants

Each of these issues-'battlegrounds' will occasion a process of grassroots meetings, taking place all over Europe, culminating to a large event, an Assembly, to be convened in one European city. We propose five steps:

  • Step 1 -- Preliminary Agenda -- A list of questions/issues for each of the six 'battlegrounds' will be circulated to motivate DiEM25 members to post ideas and proposals on diem25.org

  • Step 2 -- Events -- Members will convene physical meetings in their region to discuss the particular issue-'battleground'. (We envisage Town Hall meetings, meetings in theaters, cinemas, cultural centers etc.)

  • Step 3 -- Policy options paper -- All policy recommendations, concerns and suggestions emanating from the EVENTS will be compiled (one per issue-'battleground') with a view to putting together a POLICY OPTIONS PAPER to be submitted to the relevant DiEM Assembly

  • Step 4 -- Assembly Paper -- Each POLICY OPTIONS PAPER will be debated in the respective Assembly, until a final ASSEMBLY PAPER is compiled

  • Step 5 -- Referendum -- Each of the six ASSEMBLY PAPERS will be put to a vote of all members (using DiEM's digital platform). If/when passed, DiEM's POLICY PAPER on the issue will have been completed.

This bottom-up process will yield six DiEM Policy Papers on the issues that threaten to destroy the EU and which, taken together, will constitute DiEM's Comprehensive Program for Democratizing the European Union.

In addition to the Assemblies, and the process leading to them, DiEM25 will be organizing other campaigns and events throughout Europe in response to unfolding developments. For example, in late May 2016, we intend to hold a DiEM Event in London, prior to the pivotal UK referendum on EU membership, to discuss the issue of sovereignty at the national and EU levels.

Dear Young European Greens, Dear Florent, Julien, Karima, Michel, Rui , Vedran, Adam, Laura, Teo, Zakia, Patrick,

There are no guarantees that we shall succeed. DiEM25 is offering only a glimmer of hope.

In Berlin, together, we lit a small candle, refusing to waste our energy cursing the darkness.

It is now up to us all to turn this candle into a beacon of hope. Your letter confirms that we have already begun.

So, let's shake Europe together.

Gently.

Compassionately.

But firmly!

Carpe DiEM25

This post first appeared on DiEM25.org.

Yanis Varoufakis

Yanis Varoufakis

Yanis Varoufakis, who resigned as Finance Minister for Greece's Syriza-led government on Monday, July 6, 2015, is the author of The Global Minotaur and a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Follow him on Twitter: @yanisvaroufakis

 

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