In Berlin this February, Yanis Varoufakis announced the establishment of a pan-European political movement for democracy in Europe known as DiEM25 (Democracy in Europe Movement 2025). A manifesto for democratising Europe introduced the movement with the words: “For all their concerns with global competitiveness, migration and terrorism, only one prospect truly terrifies the Powers of Europe: Democracy!”.
Sławomir Sierakowski was invited to participate in the conference, which established DiEM25. During the meeting, Sierakowski campaigned for a strong position of Eastern and Central Europe in the Movement.
Founders of DiEM25 invited two members from Krytyka Polityczna to join the committee coordinating the movement’s course of action. The committee is made up of members have been selected by other DiEM25 members with a vote and includes Noam Chomsky, Brian Eno, Zoe Gardner, Srećko Horvat, Lorenzo Marsili, Cristina Soler-Savini, Thomas Seibert , Elif Shafak, Yanis Varoufakis and Vivienne Westwood. The committee reflects the transnational character of the movement as its members come from all the regions of Europe, the United States and Turkey, its intersectorality (its comprised of social activists, politicians, artists and philosophers) and trans-generationality. It also illustrates the Left political spectrum, pertaining to the impulse leading to the foundation of DiEM.
DiEM’s message is clear: “We have come together despite our diverse political traditions – Green, radical left, liberal – in order to repair the EU.”
The committee members will serve a term lasting for one year and their task will be to develop a DiEM25 strategy and to coordinate the movement’s actions as well as introducing social and political campaigns. The committee is the supreme organ of DiEM but will be aided by a panel of advisors including Julian Assange, Franco Berardi, Boris Buden, Susan George, James K. Galbraith, Saskia Sassen, Slavoj Žižek. Despite this, the main decision making will down to all the members of the Democracy in Europe Movement.
DiEM was initiated by Yanis Varoufakis – an economist who was the former Minister of Finances in Greece, and is one of the most prominent figures of the new left. DiEM was founded upon the idea that that it is necessary to take immediate countermeasures to prevent the process of the disintegration of Europe. This can be achieved by uniting all those who subscribe to the idea of democracy as well as creating conditions in which they can seek for solutions of the five key problems which are contributing to the decomposition of the European community: debts, the structure of the banking system, poverty, migration, a decrease of investment. Finally, DiEM25 campaigns for the democratization of community institutions as well as striving for drawing up a new European Constitution, which will be prepared together with the citizens and for the citizens. The number 25 in the Movement’s name refers to the time frame by which they hope that real democracy will have triumphed in Europe – the year 2025.
Out of so many left-wing activists working in such a large number of strong organizations in Poland and in the region of Central and Eastern Europe, why were the two of us, activists from Krytyka Polityczna invited to join the DiEM25 coordinating committee? We were chosen due to our experience in the area of international activism, in particular due to our long tradition of activism for the integration of social movements, organizations and political groups from this part of the continent. Being the organizers of an annual conference for activists from Central and Eastern Europe, which has been held in Cieszyn on the Polish-Czech border and as well as being the founders of the platform, PoliticalCritique.org, we have become one of the key media groups, which integrates Central-European activists. On one side we contribute to reinforcing the continent’s Eastern region in the international arena of political leftist activism and on the other, we support the voice of the left in Central and Eastern Europe through sharing energy and experience from our Southern and Western friends, who have been forming an increasingly more distinct and more integrated front for the struggle for a new European order. We also aim to convey Central-European content towards the mainstream left on the continent as well as taking steps to strengthen the social and political left in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and in a range of countries in the former Eastern bloc.
DiEM25 is a movement for democratizing Europe. Poland and other post-communist countries (including Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Croatia) are or are in the process of becoming countries, which are facing a real threat to democracy. By struggling for democracy in Europe, DiEM endeavours to support the democratic struggle in our countries. This is an opportunity that cannot be missed.
What does it all mean in practice? In the months to come we will be working intensively towards including Central-Eastern issues in DiEM25 activities and campaigns more frequently as well as organizing international conferences of social movements, groups, political parties and organizations as well as trade unions from Eastern, Western and Southern regions of the continent, during which a common political agenda of the European Left will be announced.
What’s more, is that we will be trying to convince people from this part of Europe to join DiEM25 as well as striving to strengthen campaigns concerning the whole of Europe to be realized by the movement. Finally, we will be doing our best to ensure that a wide range of representatives from Central-Eastern Europe will run in the election for the next coordinating committee, which is scheduled for the next year, once the current committee’s term has come to an end.
We are not alone. In Poland leftist activists responded Yanis Varoufakis’ appeal for the organization of a European Democracy Movement by forming a collective DiEM25 Poland. The Movement’s manifesto has also been supported by political parties such as Razem (Together) as well as others.
In the region, activists from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, together with the founders of the DiEM25 CEE (Democracy in Europe Movement Central Eastern Europe), who have been closely cooperating with us for many years, have become more engaged in the DiEM.
We are convinced that building alliances in Europe is of profound importance. Making friends in leftist circles is of an even greater significance. We hope to help the process by establishing many such friendships between activists, grassroots workers, political parties and protest movements. Krytyka Polityczna’s experience tells us that nothing is more helpful in grassroots and political activism than a team and the opportunity to cooperate with people equally engaged in public campaigns.