From the email list of the European Social Forum (ESF),

Dear all,

It is interesting to compare and to complete Yannis Almpanis' analysis "Papandreou government will probably fall until Friday" ( with Attac France's statement "Référendum grec: une première avancée démocratique" (

Attac France deserves thanks for its bold expression of political hope and fighting spirit in a situation that seems to grow ever more chaotic and dangerous. Almpanis, in turn, reminds us of some roots of Papandreou's politics, which are easily ignored by non-Greeks, and of the more general truth that Papandreou and his likes always put their own political survival above the interest of the people.

Attac France takes for granted that "NO" is going to win in the proposed referendum about the EU's bailout package, and concludes that this victory will make it necessary to put forward a concrete alternative to the neoliberal model:

"Mais elle (la vicoire du "NON") posera concrètement la nécessité d'une alternative au modèle néolibéral, qui devra commencer par la dénonciation des dettes illégitimes, le refus des politiques de régression sociale, la reconquête de la souveraineté démocratique sur notre monnaie commune, l'euro. Attac mettra dans les semaines à venir toute son énergie pour construire la solidarité européenne avec le peuple grec, faire triompher le non à l'austérité, et poser les premiers jalons de la refondation d'une Europe démocratique et solidaire."

To this I would like to wholeheartedly subscribe. For the alternative to be more concrete and precise, however, it is not enough to focus narrowly on the financial and social dimensions of the crisis. Our alternative must be European, we also have to take a common stand on the European Union.

"le peuple grec, en défendant ses droits sociaux et sa souveraineté démocratique, défend les droits de tous les peuples européens -- the Greek people, by defending their social rights and democratic sovereignty, is defending the rights of all European peoples",

Attac France says. But we will now also have to discover and to defend our common European "democratic sovereignty".

Therefore, everybody should take a close look at this pair of political words — the so called "democratic sovereignty". Beacause, nowadays, these words form an odd couple indeed. What is actually the sovereignty of a European country, say France, say Greece? Is it the sovereignty of Charles de Gaulle and his atomic strike force? Is it based on the "conventional" weapons — helicopters, warships, submarines, tanks etc. — imported to Greece from France, Germany and the USA?

Be aware, please, that "soverignty" is to do with aggression and defence, with war and peace. Note that it is futile to speak about "models" if you omit the military and the massive arsenals of destruction from the discussion.

Our alternative European model also must bring with it another kind of "sovereignty" than that which is cherished by the present European governments and the EU.

When demanding a different "model", it is high time to put questions like the conversion of the military production of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), for instance, squarely on the agenda. We must take on the military-industrial and academic complex!

After the Fukushima disaster, some European peoples have democratically decided to rule out the construction of new nuclear power plants. Let us hail those decisons, and let us pronounce a common "NON" to nuclear energy. We need a complete revision of the EURATOM pact from 1957, which has as its main purpose to "further" nuclear energy production.

Finally, lets say "YES" to European Union, lets create a democratic European state. That, dear activists of the European Social Forum, was actually the whole idea of the original eurofederalists like the Italian Altiero Spinelli (1907-1986), whose name still embellishes the building of the European Parliament. See what a mess they have made of the original good idea!

Yours in peace,


2 November, 2011