“Turn 21 June into a day of mass protests and strikes”
We write to you as elected members of the European United Left / Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) in the European Parliament. We represent workers, pensioners, the unemployed, students, youth and those socially excluded.
The massive movement demanding ‘Real Democracy’ in Spain and the social earthquake rocking Greece are the response of working people, the unemployed and the poor to the vicious attack on living standards. We support the struggle for real democracy, but argue that this cannot be achieved while the dictatorship of the market and the dictates of the ‘Troika’ are allowed to continue.
The crisis in Europe continues to worsen. Millions across Europe, in particular in the so-called peripheral European countries, have experienced vicious austerity driven by neo-liberal governments and the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF. These policies have worsened the crisis for working people, the unemployed and small business owners, while protecting the interests of the bankers and international bondholders. Women have been particularly hard hit by the economic crisis. These policies also threaten to destroy the future for a whole generation of young people. Even in those countries where the economy is growing, social rights and wages and conditions are under attack.
One aspect of this austerity programme is the European establishment’s attempt to introduce an "Economic Governance" package which will put the budgets of national governments under the scrutiny of the unelected European Commission, with massive fines for states that do not comply with Commission and Council diktats and targets. This will not only undermine democracy but will be a tool to introduce further austerity and privatisation programmes on a European level.
We salute the movements of the “indignados”, where hundreds of thousands of young people have now occupied squares in cities across Europe. Significantly, they have been joined by workers, unemployed people and pensioners. These occupations demonstrate the anger of young people as they face a future of unemployment and illustrate their alienation from the political establishment. The protests have clearly taken their inspiration from the revolutions that are taking place in the Middle East and North Africa and indicate that the wish for change and real democracy of the masses in that region strikes a chord with people in Europe.
To defeat the austerity attacks and to fight for real democracy in Europe, we feel it is necessary to mobilise the power of the organised and united working class in conjunction with these movements. Therefore, we welcome the general strike in Greece on 15 June and we encourage trade union activists to discuss organising industrial action in their countries to maximise the effect of a joint fight back.
15 June will be an important day of struggle across Europe. Together with the general strike in Greece, mass demonstrations are planned in Barcelona and other Spanish cities. On 19 June, national protests have been called in Spain. On 30 June, a public sector strike has been called in Britain. The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) is planning to organise an action and information day at the European and national level on 21 June.
We urge that European trade unions use their power to turn 21 June into a day of mass protests and strikes that underline the trade union movement’s determination to fight austerity. In order to build for this, we feel that solidarity protests should take place across Europe in the next weeks to give a clear message of opposition to the European establishment. We will raise the idea of joint action with the parties, trade unions and social movements that we are affiliated with.
The attack on living standards is Europe-wide. It is vital that a united response is built by workers, young people, the unemployed, socially excluded and pensioners across Europe. These protests should be used as the next step in building for further European wide action, including industrial action, building to a European-wide one day general strike.
We propose the following demands as a basis for discussion and organisation in the countries across Europe:
• Build demonstrations and protests in solidarity with the movements in Greece and Spain.
• For united action of working people across Europe to defeat the austerity measures – build for further European wide action, including industrial action involving both the private and public sectors, building to a European-wide one day general strike.
• The problem of mass youth unemployment must be tackled through public investment in job creation
• No to the austerity policies pushed by the EU and IMF and national governments such as cutbacks, wage cuts, unemployment, increases in the retirement age and privatisation of public services.
• Workers, pensioners, the unemployed, students, youth and those socially excluded must not pay for the crisis – Make the super rich and bankers pay.
• To fight for real democracy, the dictatorship of the financial markets, credit ratings institutions and the IMF must be broken. The banks and financial institutions should be taken into democratic public ownership and run in the interests of the majority of the people.
Yours in solidarity,
Paul Murphy MEP Socialist Party (Ireland)
Nikolaos Chountis MEP Syriza (Greece)
Willy Meyer MEP Izquierda Unida (Spain)
Eva-Britt Svensson MEP Vänsterpartiet (Sweden)
Patrick Le Hyaric MEP Front de Gauche (France)
Søren Bo Søndergaard MEP (Denmark)
Gabriele Zimmer MEP Die Linke (Germany)
Sabine Lösing MEP Die Linke (Germany)
Lothar Bisky MEP Die Linke (Germany)
Jürgen Klute MEP Die Linke (Germany)
Cornelia Ernst MEP Die Linke (Germany)
Sabine Wils MEP Die Linke (Germany).