PAOLA PIETRANDREA 19 March 2018
On 7 February in Brussels, the European Parliament rejected the idea of creating transnational European lists for the 2019 Elections. Nevertheless, the first transnational European list of candidates for the 2019 Elections was created on 10 March, in Naples.
On the initiative of the Democracy in Europe Movement, DiEM25, founded in 2016 by the former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, several national, regional and municipal political organisations from all over Europe met in the Domus Ars in Naples:
Génération-s, the left-wing French environmental movement led by Benoît Hamon;
DeMA, Democrazia e Autonomia, a citizen platform, led by the mayor of the “rebel city” of Naples, Luigi De Magistris
Razem, the Polish feminist, pro-labour, anti-austerity movement, represented by, among others, Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk
Livre , the pro-European, left-wing libertarian, ecological, Portuguese movement, represented by its co-founder Rui Tavares
Alternativet, the Danish, progressive, European, environmentalist party represented by Rasmus Nordqvist
Bündnis – DiEM25, the electoral wing of DiEM25 in Germany
Open to the public with its press conference livestreamed, the meeting took place under the benevolent regard of a great lady of the European left, Susan George, and was observed by representatives of the Romanian DEMOS movement, the German DiB party, the French Communist Party, the Croatian parties Nova ljevica and Zagreb Je NAŠ! the Slovenian Levica Party, as well as the Party of European Greens and the Party of the European Left.
In the context of the European Elections of 2019, the organisations gathered at the Naples meeting decided to present:
– a common policy programme,
– a single spitzenkandidate (a candidate for the head of the commission),
– a common coordination,
– a list of candidates (corresponding to the sum of the lists presented in each country by each party and movement member of the list). This list, which will be agreed upon and democratically voted on by the members of the various movements and parties, may provide for the swapping of candidates across countries.
An act of constructive disobedience
This initiative is put forward, explicitly and deliberately, as an act of constructive disobedience, that is, an act of concerted, manifest disobedience capable of accelerating change.
The technocrats in Brussels don’t want transnational lists? In reality, it only takes a little imagination and political creativity to simulate them within the framework of existing laws.
A rebellion is developing
This act of disobedience announced by the organisations gathered in Naples is only the first in a long series.
The European New Deal, for example, i.e. the economic policy developed within DiEM25, around which the list will build its programme, recommends disobeying the status quo by using existing European institutions in order to simulate federal functionality within the framework of the current treaties – thus without providing a pretext for ruinous and unrealistic exits from the European Union.
This federal simulation will ensure the creation of an economic, ecological, feminist and social policy framework capable of addressing under-investment, poverty and inequalities in Europe, tackling public and private debt crises, promoting public and common goods, and implementing a massive green investment programme representing at least 4.5% of the European Union’s GDP in direct cooperation with European cities.
In the same spirit, the forces gathered in Naples plan to launch a citizens’ assembly process, beginning in villages and cities all over Europe. This process will enable European citizens to implement, at least symbolically, the constitutional process that Europe needs and that the European institutions do not have the strength to ensure. This process of participatory democracy will initiate the creation of a democratic Constitution written by the peoples of Europe for the peoples of Europe, capable of putting citizens, local communities and municipalities at the centre of decision-making processes, eventually leading to a Constituent Assembly which, together with the European Parliament, will draw up the future European democratic Constitution by 2025.
A European liberation movement
Far from being a simple electoral cartel, therefore, this newly created list represents the electoral expression of a common vision now beginning to spread among the peoples of Europe.
Aware of the fact that European problems can only be solved at the European level, and firmly opposed to any compromise with the existing European institutions, the groups gathered in Naples have set themselves the objective, not only of participating in the 2019 elections, but more generally of launching a movement that Rui Tavares has proposed calling a European liberation movement.
As well stated by Luigi De Magistris, for years the forces of national, local, civil society have been resisting Brussels’s institutional violence – the time has come to strike back.
An open call
The organisations gathered in Naples intend to broaden the scope of this movement well beyond its first members. A call has been extended to other political and civil society movements throughout Europe to participate in the political elaboration and electoral expression of the programme.
We stress that the process is wide open to civil society.
For too many years, professional politicians have had an interest in deepening an artificial distinction between grassroots politics and institutional politics, thus separating citizen action from power.
DiEM25, together with all the protagonists in Naples, invites civil society movements, local authorities and citizens’ initiatives to respond to the call and to bring their know-how, experience and demands into the institutional game. We believe that it is only through their contributions that together through the struggle against European institutions, we can forge the European people.