Agenda for a social Europe (Party of the European Left)

Joint Action Platform for resistance and alternatives in Europe

Political Action Programme of the Party of the European Left 2011-2013
Motion of the EL-ExBoard to the EL 3rd Congress
Paris
December 3-5, try 2010

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The 3rd Congress of the European Left is taking place as more and more unbearable sacrifices are imposed on European people. Indeed, in the vast majority of European countries, programmes of public spending cuts, of super-austerity, of liberalisation of public services and the labour market are being implemented. To generalise these policies, countries, with the full complicity of their governments are being placed under custody of the European  Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and other institutions such as the IMF.

These policies are presented as a necessary response to the financial and economic crisis. But this is a crisis of  capitalism, and of its current globalised and financial form. This crisis also impacts on the environment, energy, food, cultural and moral values. Therefore this crisis finds expression at all political levels and in all societies marked by the ruling capitalist mode of production and similarly at the EU level with its recent orientations, neoliberal policies and institutions.

The current debt problem constitutes a new phase of the protracted crisis. It has its roots in the economic and political developments of the last 30 years. Interlinking the multiple causes of the crisis, it is increasingly impacting on people’s everyday lives.

We, the Party of the European Left, together with other socialist, communist and red-green parties and organisations – widely regarded as the current plural European left, oppose these neoliberal policies and structures applied to the EU via successive treaties up to and including the Lisbon treaty.

The responsibility for these policies lies with the coalition formed by European , liberal and social-democratic parties that has dominated at the European and national level. We seek to present a political alternative to the neoliberal model. Given the widespread use of austerity, new resistance is developing across Europe. The major challenge facing the Left is to set out alternatives,  encourage this resistance, and mould from it a movement for an alternative vision of civilisation committed to solidarity. We do this in the name of a social, ecological and peaceful Europe.

Ever firmer adherence to the Stability Pact and the EU 2020 strategy, modelled on IMF structural adjustment programmes, will not lead to the end of the crisis: on the contrary, it heralds the prospect of aggravated distortions, tensions, authoritarianism and social inequality. There is a risk of economic collapse, massive exacerbation of poverty and precariousness, and the destruction of the social model and European civilisation itself. There is a risk of further depression within the Euro-zone, not to mention the insurmountable problems imposed on other countries, such as the United Kingdom, Hungary, Romania or the Baltic countries. There is a risk of powerlessness in the face of the challenges posed by the ecological question. There is a serious risk of strangulation of democracy, of authoritarian “governance” of member states led by the interests of the market, and the management of national economies by the Commission, the ECB and the IMF.

There is already a substantial threat that the EU´s legitimacy crisis will worsen, that a lack of democratic impetus and of solidarity among the scorned and excluded who are unable to enforce their rights and decide their future will bolster the ascent of the ultranationalist, xenophobic and racist ideas of the extreme right.

There is a mounting threat to peaceful coexistence and to national minorities within the EU and the possibility of achieving real equality between women and men is facing significant obstacles. This involves the aforementioned tendency towards dramatic cuts, as well as rollbacks on standards in gender democracy and non-discrimination against minorities within the EU and beyond. More and more social care work is being delegated to families, i.e mostly to women as unpaid labor. This is the root of many women’s poverty and lack of economic self-determination.

It is not people in Europe, the working as well asunemployed, students and those in training, the elderly, women and children, the sick and disabled, the poor and the low and middle-income earners – who should pay for this crisis.

No, it is time for radical policy change. This policy change must guarantee that those who are responsible for the crisis will pay for it. Sustainable regulation must be developed, taking the banking and credit system into public control and re-orientating it towards social and ecological aims. Concrete steps can and should be taken to free EU and national government policymaking from the grip of financial markets, to turn the logic of profit into a new logic of human development based on social justice and sustainable ecology.

That is the current path of realism. That is an approach in the interests of European countries and their peoples. With the constructive will to formulate alternatives with which we can enter into a broader dialogue with people –and to organise a common struggle – we present the following proposals.

These proposals are not simply to be taken or to be left, but are intended to evolve in an open debate among European people and movements.