EUROPEAN MEETING IN VENICE

Hobo (hobo@ecn.org)
Fri, 08 Aug 1997 23:59:15 +0200


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ONE WORLD . . . MANY WORLDS EUROPEAN MEETING IN VENICE, 12-13-14 SEPTEMBER 1997 http://www.ecn.org/pad/euro/

This coming 14 September, the "Lega Nord" party has organised celebrations in Venice intended to sanction the birth in Northern Italy of a new national State -- Padania. This is simply the latest episode in a drama that has seen the build up over the past few months -- within Northern Italy as a whole, and the North-East in particular -- of a widespread culture and practice of secessionism. The contents of this political project, which is able to count upon a mass consensus, clearly include intolerance and racism. Its objective is the birth of a new micro-nationalism, based upon "Padanian ethnic identity", upon savage neo-liberal economic policies, upon the entrenchment of social exclusion along racial lines. They want a new racist and authoritarian State in Europe: as if there weren't enough of them already, as if the tragedy of the peoples of former Yugoslavia had taught us nothing!

"Padanian micro-nationalism" is one of the poisoned fruits thrown up by the large-scale social and productive changes of the last 25 years, which have seen the formation of a single world market governed by neo-liberal policies, as well as the new relation between the "global" and the "local" attendant upon it. The merciless struggle against that drift into barbarism and disintegration to which such a situation alludes is a litmus test for all those subjects committed to seeking out and constructing new paths of liberation, to a freer and more just world worthy of the women and men who live in it.

12-13-14 September are the occasion for organising a clearcut challenge, in open and mass conflict, to every secessionist and racist hypothesis. These days also offer the occasion to open a space in which a genuine, unstilted encounter can occur amongst all those social and political experiences in conflict with the new contradictions of the epoch, amongst all those who seek to experiment with new paths of political activity, new horizons of social change.

We invite everyone to join in a broad-ranging discussion aimed at rethinking antagonistic political action for a new bill of rights, within the new relationship between "global" and "local".

For the first time in history the World is really one: events and situations from the most far off places, and from all sorts of lands, appear as part of one single big scenario, the world market. ''Globalization'' is advancing with a disruptive and raging power: it breaks old ties and roots, it overthrows and upsets both lifestyles and models of production, reproduction and consumption; it reshapes territories, creates new frontiers and discriminations. It builds new hierarchies, privileges, and injustices in every corner of the globe: nothing can escape from this powerful machine, which is as forceful as original accumulation. Globalization takes place under the banner of capitalism, the market and ''the violence of money'': any alternative seems to have disappeared from the scenario of history. Together, ''the unique thought'' of the global market, this new totalitarian monster, and man's exploitation of man, seem an inescapable destiny, almost a natural law. ''History is over...!'', chorus some sad apologists of the New World Order. No, on the contrary, we don't believe that history is over.

There is always a possibility, an alternative, an utopia, a hope: one must be able to keep up with one's own time! Today it is right, possible, and necessary to rebel against the neo-liberal order, against the globalization of exploitation and oppression -- starting from our own territory, from the places where we live and struggle. From our neighbourhoods, towns, and countries... in the indissoluble tie between ''local'' and ''global'', as we have learned in the language of liberation spoken from the Chiapas experience of the Zapatistas.

Neo-liberalism, despotism and absolutism: let's fight them once again, for freedom. Within the profound and irreversible crisis of the nation State and welfare State, neo-liberal globalization and the capitalist market domination can be attacked only at this level of the contradiction. We need to create new forms of political action beyond the borders of ''nationality'', in order to break definitively with the political and organisational forms which have crystallised at a national level; to fuse immediately local, territorially-grounded political action with the global dimension; to overcome entirely the party-form and every centralised approach. We need to create relations, projects, and initiatives of struggle and co-operation between different subjects and places; to prefigure, wherever possible and starting at the local level, forms of self-government and radical democracy which appropriate administrative functions from below. We need to pressure local administrations through conflict and relations of force, so that we can conquer rights, spaces, and a better quality of life; so that we can create and spread -- beyond any border or frontier -- networks of counterpower and a new solidarity; so that we can gain -- piece by piece, territory by territory, town by town -- concrete (even if partial) consquests: new citizenship rights, decent living conditions for all against racism, xenophobia, and exclusion.

A new (hi)story is beginning: it speaks the simple and primal language of justice and freedom for the exploited, for the oppressed and for the weakest; it speaks of real democracy and a new public space, the creation of communities of mutual aid and cooperation.

Against the modern forms of absolutism and despotism, for a new bill of human and citizenship rights. FOR THE RIGHT TO ONE'S EXISTENCE as a supreme and primary value, against the work myths of efficiency and productivity, of market and money! Against neo-liberalism! But if we choose this path, we must also abandon all ideological, dogmatic, fundamentalist and millenarian traditions. There is no redemption, nor final solution, no D-Day nor objective science of the future. What matters -- the only thing that matters -- is what the real movement is able to conquer day by day, place by place, within the materiality of conflict. ''... The first presupposition of any human life and hence for history is that, in order to make history, men must be able to live...'' (K.Marx, The German Ideology).

AGAINST THE EUROPE OF MAASTRICHT, AGAINST CENTRALISED AND STATIST NATIONALISM, AGAINST EVERY NATIONALISM ... FOR A NETWORK OF COMMUNITIES OF MUTUAL AID IN A EUROPE OF SOCIAL RIGHTS!!

Neo-liberalism and capitalist globalization, therefore, fuse and function together by means of precise and well-defined mechanisms: from the IMF to international agreements and concrete policies such as GATT, NAFTA etc. As far as our own experience of "globalization'' is concerned, the horizon today is the Europe of Maastricht forged by the powerful and their allies. Free circulation of goods, money and capital ... this is what the old freemarketeers say!

At the same time, new frontiers and barriers are set for thousands of men and women escaping from their lands, new and more profound hierarchies, inequalities and discriminations are created; welfare is being dismantled, and rights or guarantees are being cancelled in the name of EU-wide economic and market "standards".

Everywhere new ethno-nationalisms spring up: each ''homogeneous territorial community'' fights against the others for a place in the sun of the new Europe's political and economic market. In the process they push outside the poor and the weak, building new racist and xenophobic frontiers in the name of property and possessive egoism. Yesterday in Yugoslavia, today in Northern Italy -- and tomorrow?

This Europe is the new political space within which social struggles and movements must locate themselves; this is the scenario within which we need to try to create new political subjects. Subjects which generate conflict yet are neither parties nor movements in the classical sense; subjects which are locally grounded within the horizon of globalization, transversal, open and articulated on a range of levels:

* able to defend old rights conquered through the struggles of whole generations of workers;

* able to resist the dismantling of welfare, of health-care, education, and public services, whilst at the same time able to conquer new rights emergin within the current contradictions between income, work, and citizenship.

Subjects which prefigure a new world, opening numerous possibilities and alternatives to the current reality:

* for the reappropriation from below of public and collective assets, of social utilities;

* for the right to income and to a life with dignity, which implies the radical transformation of the very concept of work;

* for the creation of a new public space, against the nation State and every nationalism new or old;

* opposition to any kind of secession or separation based on egoism or exclusion, on ethnic, racist and fascist fundamentalism;

* for the abolition of all frontiers, and the creation everywhere of a network of communities engaged mutual solidarity.

But it's not enough merely to enunciate these themes. It is not our intention that the European Meeting be a place for dialectical gymnastics, let alone a catwalk upon which a range of subjects and political groups can parade. We will be directly encountering the Zapatista experience, with the intention of mapping out practical measures of struggle and conflict (starting with the problem of frontiers). Indeed, one purpose of the proceedings will be to organise, to coincide with the signing of the Schengen treaty in early October, a day of actions designed to cross a range of borders throughout Europe.

UPON THESE BASES, WE INVITE YOU TO VENICE FOR THREE DAYS OF MUSIC, DISCUSSION, INITIATIVES OF STRUGGLES THIS COMING 12-13-14 SEPTEMBER -- a meeting to which the Venice Council has officially invited a delegation from the EZLN Command.

Alternativa verde e solidale Associazione "Ya Basta!" Associazione "Senza confine" Centri sociali del Nord-est Giovani comunisti il manifesto Federazione dei Verdi Lega obiettori di coscienza Liberazione Partito della Rifondazione Comunista Rete antirazzista Sin-Cobas Verdi ambiente e societ=E0

------------------------- collettivo infodiret(t)e ECN - Padova e-mail: hobo@ecn.org http://www.ecn.org/pad/

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