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Report: Next steps after the Rome forum on Income, Commons, Democracy

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
11th March 2012


A bit late, but still important, via Orsan Senalp’s blog:

“Over February 10-12 European Alternatives organised an important three-day transnational forum in the Teatro Valle in Rome with over forty organisations from eight European countries. Here is our plan for follow-up.

European leaders seem unable to imagine social and economic alternatives to the European crisis, and merely insist on austerity measures and cuts to social spending, driving Europe further into recession.

We believe it is now time for European citizens to take coordinated action, and show that an alternative way out of the crisis – one based on participation, solidarity, and democratic control over the economy and finance – is possible. For this reason over February 10-12 European Alternatives organised an important three-day transnational forum in the Teatro Valle in Rome with the participation of over forty organisations from eight European countries.

The Rome forum follows another important transnational meeting organised by European Alternatives in the European Parliament on November 30, which paved the way to the Rome meeting.

We are now working on a clear follow-up to make sure a transnational political process is started over the coming months.

Here are the main points of conclusion:

* We have agreed to launch a European campaign on basic income, also using the new tool of the European Citizens Initaitive (ECI), which allows at least one million citizens from at least 7 member states to present a legislative proposal directly at the European commission by collecting signatures online and offline. Proposing a European basic income means fighting for stronger social protection for young people, precarious workers, the unemployed and the poor, demanding that everyone be granted the right to a dignified and independent life. The European Parliament, in a Resolution from October 2010 (here), already demanded such a policy. With this campaign we wish to take up this demand and directly oppose the attack on welfare protection in Europe. Over the coming months we are looking to organise meetings in as many European countries as we can on the theme of precarity, youth unemployment, and basic income. We are already planning forums in London and Barcelona.

* We have agreed, in particular with the artists and intellectuals of the Teatro Valle, to explore the theme of “commons” and common goods, as a response to the drive towards continuous privatisations of basic services at European level (water, heatlh, digital commons and intellectual property, etc.). We want to construct a Europe based not on the enclosure of fundamental goods and services and their subservience to profit, but a Europe where all citizens can enjoy access to them. We will explore this theme in a series of meetings during Transeuropa Festival, and are planning a forum in Bucharest to take forwards the work started in Rome.

* Finally, we have concluded it is essential to go beyond specific demands (basic income, commons) and think of new ways of federating together all those groups and realities resisting the current response to the economic crisis – from the work of NGOs to the occupations of public spaces, from current protests in Eastern Europe to calls for greater European democracy. We are therefore imagining a large transnational forum to conclude Transeuropa festival in May, bringing together network members, activists, organisations, and social movements from throghout Europe to work together for the construction of a transnational, bottom-up, citizens’ counter-power to the Europe of inter-governmental agreements and austerity measures.”

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