The 2nd Workers Euro-Mediterranean Conference on “Europe in crisis” successfully took place in Athens, Greece, on 29-30 March 2014, in ESHEA Hall. Representatives from twenty-one (21) organizations as well as many militants in personal capacity from sixteen (16) countries (Greece, Turkey, Italy, Portugal, France, Britain, Finland, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, Cyprus, Iran, South Africa, Argentina). We are publishing below the final declaration voted at the end of the conference.
Down with the “austerity” programs of social cannibalism of the troika! No payment of the debt! For a socialist way out from the crisis!
Down with all capitalist governments! For workers power!
Down with the imperialist European Union
-for the United Socialist States of Europe!
We, participants in the 2nd Workers Euro-Mediterranean Conference in Athens, militant workers and social fighters, representatives of popular organizations and social movements in Europe, and internationally, as well as of forces of the revolutionary Left coming from different traditions, involved in social struggles today, we call the working class and all oppressed for a decisive confrontation with the forces of capital
· to defeat the 'austerity” programs of social cannibalism imposed by the troika of the EU/ ECB/ IMF and all the capitalist governments of Europe, to overthrow the troika governments
· to cancel the debt to the international usurers of finance capital,
· to break decisively from the imperialist European Union, for the socialist unification of the Continent under workers governments and workers power opening the road for an internationalist socialist way out from the crisis
We re-confirm the main estimations of the initial Call for this Conference:
The ongoing world capitalist crisis is the basis and the driving force of the barbarism that threatens us. Various “success stories” claimed by the rulers in Ireland, or Greece or Spain or Portugal, thanks to “austerity”, i. e. social cannibalism imposed by the hated Troika of the EU/ECB/IMF, demonstrate only the cynicism of the ruling classes and of their governments. “Prospects” for a “jobless recovery”, a contradiction in terms, cannot fool anybody. For seven years now the unprecedented global crisis, superseding even the Great Depression of the 1930s, has engulfed the capitalist world. Europe has become the epicenter of that crisis plunging in a vicious circle of over-indebtedness and recession, exasperated now but what Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF has called “the ogre of deflation”.
Mass unemployment has become an endless nightmare for the vast majority of the population, while all social services, particularly in health and education, are collapsing in ruins. Social and democratic rights won by a long history of hard struggles of the working class and all the oppressed are destroyed. Migrant communities face racist discrimination and continuous attacks by EU and State authorities, which are assisted by the growing far right parties and fascist gangs. The EU has transformed Europe into a “Fortress Europe” and the Mediterranean into a graveyard for immigrants as the non-stop tragedies in Lampedusa (Italy) or Farmakonisi (Greece) demonstrate. Women oppression escalates, as the anti-abortion legislation introduced in Spain shows, as well as discrimination against sexual orientation, social exclusion and oppression of all minorities.
In response, social resistance is growing and mass mobilizations are developing particularly in Southern Europe, in Portugal, Spain, Greece, confronting governments in loss of legitimacy declaring a 'state of exception' to make the people to pay for capitalism’s bankruptcy. The sharpening class struggle is deepening regime crisis in different degrees and forms in one country after another. Partial victories as in Portugal's dockers’ struggle for jobs recently or against privatization of health in Spain or the protracted strikes and occupations in the public sector in Greece manifest that the combat capacity of the working class and the pauperized masses is far from being broken; on the contrary, the socio-economic crisis has led to an unprecedented and still unresolved political crisis of the bourgeois parliamentary system, a crisis of political power.
The question that is bluntly posed isnot what bourgeois party or coalition of parties or appointed “ technocrats” in the service of the capitalist system could open a way out from the crisis, butwhat social force, what class, by taking political power, can give an end to this endless social catastrophe, overthrowing the bankrupt system, and reorganizing all society on new bases. Our answer is unequivocal: Only the working class supported by all the exploited, the oppressed and socially excluded can do this, establishing the bases of socialism.
The world capitalist crisis, moving its epicenter in the EU, has destabilized economically, socially, politically all the Continent, “from the Atlantic to the Urals”. Sharp contasts and contradictory tendencies are manifested.
In Western Europe, from one side, inSpain, two million demonstrators of the tremendous March for Dignity assemble in Madrid on March 22 demanding the non-payment of the debt, and the overthrow of all troika governments; from the other side, in France, in the local government elections, the rising far right Front National wins a spectacular electoral victory because of the mass rejection of the disastrous policies of the social democratic!/social liberal government of François Hollande .
In eastern Europe, the Balkans , and the former Soviet space, from the one side, on February 5, 2014, a totally unexpected proletarian uprising of the Tuzla workers escalated into a full mass rebellion of the entire impoverished population in the EU protectorate of Bosnia, at the heart of the Balkans, in the most emblematic place of the tragedy produced by reactionary nationalism and imperialist intervention in former Yugoslavia; from the other side, popular unrest and social despair in Ukraine, from November 2013 onwards, and particularly the first months of 2014, were hijacked and manipulated by the US, EU, and NATO imperialists to impose their own agenda, their own stooges and pro-US, pro- EU and pro- Germany oligarchs, equally corrupt as the pro-Russian Yanukovitch, using in Euro-Maidan the Nazi organizations “Svoboda”, “Praviy Sektor”, and other fans of the genocidal Waffen SS, armed storm troopers, heirs of the viciously anti-Semitic collaborators of Adolf Hitler and Stepan Bandera .
Ukraine is the acid test for all of us, for all revolutionary forces and movements for emancipation.
The Ukrainian economy and society, trapped in a historical blind alley of crisis of transition, imploded. The US and EU imperialists jumped in this dangerous abyss expecting to reduce the country into a protectorate and a NATO front-line basis, at the border of post-Soviet Russia under Putin's Bonapartism.
Confirming an old prognosis by Trotsky at the late 1920s, full integration to the world capitalist economy of countries where capital has been previously expropriated means, at this historical stage of the epoch of capitalist decline, a colonization of these countries by Western imperialism under a fascist or semi-fascist regime.
Brzezinski from 1991 onwards, as well as the neoconservatives in their imperial drive for the “new American century” demanded not only the encirclement of Russia but its dismemberment. The wars in the 1990s and the fragmentation of Yugoslavia was the foretaste of what had to come to Russia itself. From the other side, the Maastricht Treaty and the launching of the euro by the German-French axis of the EU, was tied from start with the strategic goal of an expansion to the East, in the antagonism for hegemony in the post-Cold War world.
The Ukrainian events are a dramatic episode in this on-going process of capitalist restoration and of imperialist antagonisms.
Up to now, the international and European Left failed in the test of History. All kinds of reformists and centrists, aligned themselves uncritically to the Euro-Maidan and totally unable to distinguish a revolution from a counter-revolution, they are hailing the imperialist brokered transfer of power from one clan of oligarchs to another as... “a victory of democratic revolution” or “ an expansion of the Arab Spring” !
We uncompromisingly oppose the Kiev new oligarchic government of stooges of US/EU imperialism, where ,for the first time in post World War 2 Europe six ministerial posts of the greatest importance are occupied by openly Nazi forces. Their viciously anti-Semitic pogromism, terrorism and ethnic hatred is totally covered up by “democratic” Western imperialism, including Israeli Zionism.
We oppose totally the prospect of a disastrous war between Russia under Putrin's Bonapartism and a Ukraine reduced into a protectorate of the IMF and the EU. We are calling: No to all annexations, no to the dismemberment of Ukraine- for an independent , united , socialist Ukraine! Peace for the people- All power to Workers Councils!
We turn our main fire against the Western imperialist drive for colonization by the troika of IMF/EU/US, against fascism, against anti-Semite pogromism( that Israeli Zionists keep to cover up), against ethnic hatred by the Banderovites, and all the new Black Hundreds.
But that does not at all means that we “adapt to Putin's Great Russian nationalism”. We say: The annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation and military maneuvers at the borders are only bargaining cards in a geopolitical negotiation with aggressive imperialism, which will turn sooner than later against the peoples both of Ukraine and Russia. We cannot defeat imperialism under a Bonapartist regime that has replaced Gos-plan, State planningwith Gos-clan, State clans, balancing between oligarchs and promoting capitalist restoration in Russia as well as in Ukraine. Recalling the sacrifices epic of the “Great Patriotic War” against the invasion Hitler's hordes does not mean forgetting that it was waged, despite the Stalinist bureaucracy, in defense the Great October Socialist Revolution, not for Great Russian nationalism or for privileges of a bureaucratic elite, which finally opened the road to capitalist restoration. We will not fight to defend the wealth of the new “Golden Horde” of Russian oligarchs who are equally gangsters and enemies of the people as their Ukrainian colleagues. We demand the confiscation of their fortunes stolen from the people, their expropriation under workers control by new, genuine Soviets! Only a socialist revolution and the power of workers Soviets without bureaucrats can put an end to capitalist restoration, defeat imperialism, and build neither an imperialist European Union, a prison of the peoples in the service of capital, nor a capitalist “Eurasian Customs Union” of oligarchs but a genuine, new Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, with full respect of the right of national self-determination, in the framework of a United Socialist States of Europe!
Eastern Europe and the Balkans
The reports presented in the 2nd Workers Euro-Mediterranean Conference by the comrades from Hungary, Poland, and Bulgaria made absolutely clear that the “transition to the market economy and liberal democracy” in post-1989 Eastern Europe and the Balkans celebrated by world capitalism was a social catastrophe and a historical failure. Ukraine was the epitome of it. But also everywhere in Eastern Europe, despite national and local peculiarities, a similar social landscape is presented. A process of generalised de-industrialisation: national industries were privatized, literally stolen by the former bureaucrats turned into corrupt oligarchic capitalist elites, their assets were sold and then closed down , condemning the workers to mass unemployment; rise of organized crime, Mafias connected with the ruling oligarchs; devastation of all social services, and living standards; mass impoverishment of the population and mass emigration; rise of far right, nationalist and fascist organizations; rebirth of social radicalism and sharpening of the social struggles.
The rebellions in Bosnia, as previously, in Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovenia, make clear that we are in a totally new stage. The apparent “calm” of the last two decades- a calm of cemetery, full of human sufferings- is definitely disrupted, and the working class and the popular masses are re-appearing in struggle in the arena of History.
In solidarity to the emerging workers’ and people’s movement in eastern Europe and the Balkans, we demand:
· stop all privatizations, re-nationalize industry under workers control and workers management fight the corruption and the mafia by the confiscation of the all the wealth stolen from the people by the corrupt oligarchy, under workers control
· build all forms of workers and popular self-organization, build workers councils, without bureaucrats or representatives of the oligarchic elites, as organs of struggle and as organs of workers power that should replace the regimes of capitalist restoration.
· Disband the repression forces of the ruling oligarchic regimes, disband all fascist gangs and organizations; build workers self-defense groups and a People's militia
· Down with reactionary nationalism and ethnic hatred, for internationalist solidarity and unity of all oppressed people! Fort a Socialist Federation in the Balkans!
· No to the colonization of Eastern Europe and the Balkans by the imperialist European Union and the IMF! Break from the EU and NATO! For the United Socialist States of Europe!
The coming European Elections on May give us the opportunity to intervene in various forms to in various conditions in different countries, with public meetings, distribution of leaflets and pamphlets with the conclusions and program of the Conference, solidarity actions, independent electoral lists etc. without illusions for any “democratic and progressive reorientation of the European Union” or “to reform the EU and its institutions into a social and democratic Europe” keeping intact the framework of a bankrupt capitalist system.
We pledge to wage a political campaign for an urgent revolutionary internationalist alternative and a socialist way out from the crisis; to elaborate and fight with a program of action on the basis of the following main axes
· to fight back the international usurers, the dictatorship of the “markets”, of the banks and financial capital, by the cancellation of ALL the public debt that robs and crushes the lives of millions, and by the expropriation of the banks under working control.
· All the “austerity” plans of social cannibalism imposed by the EU, the ECB, the IMF and the capitalist governments have to be stopped immediately. The capitalist have to pay for the crisis of their system of exploitation, not the exploited! We have to fight to restore wages, pensions, and social rights of the working people according to social needs, not for the profits of the few.
· Against mass unemployment, we call to fight to forbid sackings, for distribution of the working hours among all workers. Public works of infrastructure, which anyway are vital and urgently needed, have to be developed to create new jobs.
· The barons of big industry always blackmail workers to accept more cuts of wages and jobs or they would close or “de-localize” their factories abroad; our answer should be to occupy all the factories that close or fire massively workers, to expropriate them, without compensation, making them function again under workers control and workers management.
· For a resolute struggle against fascism, racism and discrimination against women, against sexual orientation, against all minorities! Defend the immigrants and all the communities of oppressed! Equal rights for all workers, independently of color, ethnic origin or religion! The workers and popular movements have to organize Workers Defense Guards against the fascist gangs and state repression.
· For the dismantling of the bourgeois state apparatus of repression, of NATO and all imperialist military bases and alliances- full solidarity to all anti-imperialist struggles of oppressed nations in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America!
· For all immediate vital demands of the working class and popular masses, our battle cry should be: Down with all capitalist governments! For workers governments and workers power! Down with the European Union of the imperialists! For the United Socialist States of Europe!
We, participants in the 2nd Workers Euro-Mediterranean Conference , we pledge to strengthen our internationalist links, developing a network of revolutionary organizations and emancipatory social movements, coming from different political traditions, from all over Europe and beyond; to organize regularly meetings to discuss common actions and developing perspectives, on the road to build a real international revolutionary leadership that our times urgently need- the International fro the universal human emancipation, world Socialism!
Athens, 30 March 2014